24 July 2017

Paragon Distributor News: The Improved BlueBird XL Bead Kiln

Hot off the press... Paragon Kilns has just announced improvements to one of their most popular kilns... the Bluebird XL. The new Paragon BlueBird XL has an improved ceramic fiber roof, thicker doors with new gaskets, heavier mandrel holders, and a stainless steel control panel.
  • Improved Ceramic Fiber Top - The BlueBird XL features new sinusoidal “wavy” elements, which are embedded close to the inner surface of the high-tech, vacuum-formed ceramic fiber top. This is an improvement over our earlier embedded coiled elements, because the “wavy” elements are mounted closer to the surface. This enables the elements to radiate heat faster for longer element life. The ceramic fiber top reduces dust inside the kiln.
  • Improved Double Doors with Gaskets - Both doors are 3 1/2” x 10” and mounted in a 4 1/4” high opening. The 3/4” gap under the doors is filled by flexible, high temperature door gaskets, which help to hold in heat. The 2” thick ceramic fiber doors are twice the thickness of our original doors. The hinges are now continuous across the top for extra longevity.
  • Improved Mandrel holders with 20 slots are held with magnets instead of screws - The kiln comes with a single and a double mandrel holder. The single holder supports rods or mandrels from one point; the double cradles the rods at two points. The holders are held by magnets. They are sturdy and heavy for stability.
  • Improved Rare-earth magnets hold the doors open or closed - Rare-earth magnets hold the doors closed while the kiln is heating to annealing temperature. Phenolic knobs on the door handles stay cool to the touch. Use the switch on the front panel to turn off power to the controller when the kiln is not in use.
If you were thinking about ordering a Bluebird XL, now is the perfect time! And, don't forget that you can order all Paragon Kilns in color at no extra charge!

22 July 2017

“What to Expect, When You’re Expecting!”


Waiting for a kiln is like waiting for new a baby to arrive. You have the relief of "I’ve have finally made the decision", and the adrenaline rush of " Now, I’m ready to begin the new adventure.” And then nothing happens… crickets chirp and you wait… and you wait. You are constantly checking your e-mail waiting for the tracking and delivery information to arrive in your inbox. For most of us it's like waiting for a pot to boil... the more you watch, the longer it takes.

At Kiln Frog, we understand, and we get it! We recognize that you are dying to know exactly which day it’s coming, and how soon you can get started. And, we know that waiting stinks!

Currently, most kiln companies build kilns to order due to the immense amount of customization options they offer. Only the smallest 120v table top kilns, like the SC3 or Kingpin 88, with the most generic options are built and ready to leave the factory immediately. In addition, the demand for certain types of kilns is so high that the manufactures just can’t keep up. In today’s economy, the manufacturers would rather create lag times for delivery, then bring in more production staff and risk layoffs. Additionally, kiln building is a relatively specific skill. A lot of training is required to be knowledgeable and proficient, and that takes investment too. So, we all prefer that the kiln companies take their time and build ‘em right! 

While you are waiting, here are some things you can do to be ready when the kiln arrives:

Make space for your new baby to live. Plan for 12 inches of space between the kiln and everything else. Make sure the space is clean from dust and debris.

Clear a space for the box/pallet to live while you are unpacking the kiln. Chances are the freight company or even UPS/FedEx, etc. will place the pallet or box in your garage, but you will need to have a covered, clean and dry space ready so that you can take your time assembling things like your stand, etc. Some models come with stands assembled, and some do not.

Get yourself a set of nut drivers and a multi-meter from the home improvement store. You’re going to need them if you’re ever going to do any maintenance on your kiln. You might even need the nut drivers to put together your stand.

Make sure the space your planning to put the kiln is less than 6 feet from the receptacle. Most kilns only have a 6-foot cord, and the bigger the kiln, the fatter the cord, making it less likely to bend around corners, etc.

Make sure you plan for a working surface. Somewhere near your kiln to store kiln wash, posts, extra shelves, gloves, tools etc.

Make plans for someone to help you unpack the kiln. Only the smallest 120v table top kilns can be a “one man job.” If you lack the upper body strength to lift 40 pounds alone, prearrange some help. Do this BEFORE the kiln arrives so that you’ve set the stage to get going sooner rather than later.

Have a plan for debris removal. What will you do with pallet? The box, the foam, the strapping, the plastic, etc. That packing material is coming, how will you get it gone??

Pre-read the manuals and watch the controller videos on YouTube. Be familiar with your kiln and controller before it arrives. Maybe purchase some fun technique books to inspire your work!

If you haven’t heard from us in 3-4 weeks, feel free to drop us an email and inquire as to what we know about your kiln. We typically check with the manufacturer at the three-week mark if we see your kiln has not shipped yet.  If there’s a problem, we’ll let you know.

Great service is our #1 priority! We know you’re anxious to get your new kiln and get going, so we humbly ask, please be patient. We don’t build ‘em, and we have no control if a manufacturer gets behind due to mechanical problems at the factory, weather related issues, shipping delays, etc. We want what you want, your kiln in perfect working order, delivered in one piece, in a timely manner...

And most importantly, a happy, happy customer!

06 July 2017

TAP Kiln Control Mobile Update for iOS


From our friends at SDS Industries: An update to TAP Kiln Control Mobile is available for iOS users. Future versions of the mobile application will provide nearly complete control of your internet accessible kiln, with the ability to create new schedules, edit existing schedules, modify settings, and review logs on the go.

Current Release

  • Create TAP Mobile account and add kilns on the fly
  • Remote monitoring with by-the-minute updates
  • Quick check the status of your kilns with easy to read indicators
  • Detail view that shows current execution status
  • Push Notifications for schedule step advancement, firing completion, and error conditions
  • Tab Layout offering view of Kiln specific Schedules, Settings, Diagnostics, and Error Logs

Future Releases

  • Create and modify schedules remotely
  • Remotely update kiln settings
  • Firing Log view with by-the-minute data points
  • Ability to Skip Steps and Abort firings remotely

Please note, TAP Kiln Control Mobile requires your TAP Kiln Controller to be on software Revision 2 or higher. The current software release is Revision 4.0, which incorporates updates necessary for the most effective app experience. For users that are web connected, the latest software version will download automatically when the controller is powered on.

More information on the Tap Controller from SDS Industries.

For technical assistance or questions, please contact info@kilncontrol.com.

25 June 2017

Discoloration on kilns with fiber

Fiber kilns are constructed of rigidized fiber to keep the walls nice and stiff. Some kiln companies pre-fire their fiber at the factory to a satisfactory temperature so that any excess rigidizer burns away while others do not.  As you can never be 100% positive that all of the excess rigidizer is gone, a good fiber burnout is usually necessary.

With that said, before you put anything in the kiln, fire your new fiber kilns up to 1500°F and hold for one hour. Make sure to do this in a well-ventilated area, like an open garage, near an open window or your back porch because as the heat increases, the excess rigidizer may begin to steam, and well, yes even get a bit stinky. We get a lot of calls about this but, don't panic as it is totally normal.

As the process continues, the nice white fiber board may even begin to turn brown and discolor. But, once the temp reaches 1500°F the toasty looking area should return to pristine white. If there is a lot of rigidzer, the area may remain slightly discolored or seem stained.  Again, don't worry, as this will not effect the firing of the kiln, or later, the glass inside.

Discoloration happens a lot when you use fiber papers like Thinfire or Papyrus. It’s just happening inside the kiln, so you don’t see it. If you vent your kiln while using these papers, the burnout process can discolor the edges of your kiln lid. Again, this just isn’t a real problem, just a cosmetic blemish. Think of this as smile lines from the joys of using your kiln!

Learn more about fiber vs. brick kilns...

03 June 2017

Greenery is the 2017 Pantone Color of the Year!

Bullseye Glass Quick Tip:

"It's not easy being green" but, we think that Kermit the Frog would be so pleased with Pantone's choice of Greenery as the 2017 Color of the Year!

According to Pantone, a refreshing and revitalizing shade, Greenery is symbolic of new beginnings. Greenery is nature’s neutral. The more submerged people are in modern life, the greater their innate craving to immerse themselves in the physical beauty and inherent unity of the natural world. A constant on the periphery, Greenery is now being pulled to the forefront – it is an omnipresent hue around the world.

With that, our friends at the Bulleye Glass Co. have created an inspiring set of Fresh Palette Picks that use the Bullseye green styles they released in 2017. Use them in your next project—or create a palette of your own! Each color sample shown is 3 mm (-0030) sheet glass, but consider 2 mm Thin (-0050) sheets, too!

We can't wait to see what you create!