Why I bought an L&L

Hi L&L people,
Just wanted to tell you how pleased I am with my L&L kiln.  I bought it in 2003 and it has been perfect ever since, firing to cone 04.  I use a special clay body given to me by Don Reitz that is quite vitreous at cone 04.  It is perfect for out doors.  I will email some images of my clay sculpture.
DSC03612
All the best,
Tom Supensky
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Hello again…here are three of my clay sculptures.  I apply under glaze colors then bisque to cone 04.  I then apply a watered down clear glaze (5 parts water to 1 part glaze) to the entire piece.  I then apply a normal application of the clear glaze to places I want to shine.  I fire again at cone 04.
Enjoy,
Tom Supensky
Slip Ups

Slip Ups

Keep This Under Your Hat

Keep This Under Your Hat

Top Hat And Tails

Top Hat And Tails

Electrical & Cold Weather Questions

The following is a slightly edited email conversation between a potential customer and Steve Lewicki.
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Dear L&L KIlns –
Here are some questions about the L&L Kiln eQuad Pro 13.6 cubic feet model eq 2836-3.  I have not purchased this kiln yet,.  I may get the 10.6 cubic foot one instead, but these questions will probably have the same answers, regardless of which model…
1.  I am planning to put this kiln in an uninsulated garage in Wisconsin where the temperatures can drop well below zero degrees Fahrenheit.  I could not find anything about cold ambient temperature voiding the kiln warranty.  Is that correct?
2.  What is the best way to operate the kiln when it is cold?  I was planning on building a plexiglass enclosure (not close to kiln) and heating temp up to 35 or 40 degrees Fahrenheit before turning on the kiln’s computer for programming the firing.  Is that what you would recommend?
3.  Will keeping the kiln computer in the cold (when not firing kiln) reduce the lifetime of the kiln in a significant way?
4.  How many feet from the walls do you recommend putting the kiln? I am getting the downdraft vent option and also wonder how far the exhaust tube will need to reach.
5.  What do you recommend for the walls of the garage near the kiln?   Concrete board–will it suffice?
6.  I could put the kiln in the basement laundry room that is heated, but I would prefer the garage because there will be lots more space there.  I hope that is a workable option.  Any thoughts will be appreciated.
Thank you very much!
Matt B
Wisconsin
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Matthew –

Thanks for emailing! See answers below your questions:

1.  I am planning to put this kiln in an uninsulated garage in Wisconsin where the temperatures can drop well below zero degrees Fahrenheit.  I could not find anything about cold ambient temperature voiding the kiln warranty.  Is that correct?
Cold weather will not void the warranty per se. However, here are the technical specs of the control (from Bartlett):

TECHNICAL SPECIFICATIONS

THERMOCOUPLE INPUT TYPE K or TYPE S (MAXIMUM RESISTANCE 100 OHMS)

ACCURACY +/- 10ûF

COLD JUNCTION COMPENSATION ELECTRONIC

POWER INPUT 24V CENTER-TAP TRANSFORMER

OUTPUTS 1, 2, 3, AND SAFETY 600 mA AT 12V; FOUR 12V RELAYS WITH 80 OHM COIL

OUTPUT 4 150 mA at 12V; ONE 12V RELAY WITH 80 OHM COIL

OPERATING TEMPERATURE RANGE 0ûF TO 125ûF OR 0ûC TO 52ûC

2.  What is the best way to operate the kiln when it is cold?  I was planning on building a plexiglass enclosure (not close to kiln) and heating temp up to 35 or 40 degrees Fahrenheit before turning on the kiln’s computer for programming the firing.  Is that what you would recommend?
I wouldn’t use plexiglass – but that is just a person thought. It is very expensive and inherently flammable (I would guess) and not sure what the point is. Why don’t you build a little enclosure out of cement board? From the above specs you only need to be above 0 Deg F. The control itself is the only thing that is likely to be affected and the kiln will quickly make everything around it warm enough. The only other mechanical item on the kiln are the relays. (I just looked up their technical specs and found nothing about temperature range).
3.  Will keeping the kiln computer in the cold (when not firing kiln) reduce the lifetime of the kiln in a significant way?
The only effect I can see is the expansion and contraction of the firebrick might be more extreme. The other thing, which I don’t think will affect you in an enclosed space, is if you somehow create condensation of the kiln with these extreme conditions. I see that more where people want to put a kiln outside in a desert.
4.  How many feet from the walls do you recommend putting the kiln? I am getting the downdraft vent option and also wonder how far the exhaust tube will need to reach.
18″
5.  What do you recommend for the walls of the garage near the kiln?   Concrete board–will it suffice?
Concrete or cement board will be great.
6.  I could put the kiln in the basement laundry room that is heated, but I would prefer the garage because there will be lots more space there.  I hope that is a workable option.  Any thoughts will be appreciated.
Try it outside for a winter and see if you run into any operational issues. I don’t think you will.
I saw your other note about voltage and there are no issues with that. Just make sure you have enough power per the specs on the kiln you buy.
Good luck with everything!
Stephen Lewicki
President | L&L Kiln Mfg., Inc.

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Thanks so much for answering the questions!

Might be a dumb question, but what do you mean “make sure you have enough power per the specs on the kiln” that I buy?  The electrician said that he would do a direct wire to the kiln, and that since we have 200 amp service, we could use the required 100 amp breaker for the kiln.  What else besides that would I have to consider in terms of “power”?
Thanks again,
Matt
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Well, now that I think about it, I guess I can ask the electrician if there will be any problem with the specs of 19000 watts and 79.2 amps.   The watts are the power.  If there is anything else you think I should ask the electrician before ordering the kiln, please let me know.

Thanks,
Matt
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Matt – Having just checked the specs you will need a 100 amp breaker for that kiln if you have 240 volts, single phase.
Stephen Lewicki
President | L&L Kiln Mfg., Inc.
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Hi, Stephen,

I am still doing some research on the equad pro kiln that I plan to buy.  I am trying to figure out the best retailer to buy from–shipping to Wisconsin.
I spoke to the electrician and he said that I should go with 240 volts with single phase.  I am wondering why somebody would go with 208 volts instead.  Also wondering what triple phase means.  If those questions are not too annoying to respond to, I would enjoy hearing back from you.
Thanks,
Matt
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Matt –

You typically do not have a choice of voltage. It is what it is normally. You just need to match your kiln to the voltage that you have available. Typically in a home that will be 240 volts single phase.
Stephen Lewicki
President | L&L Kiln Mfg., Inc.

Six Special DaVinci kilns for a large industrial customer

After making one DaVinci kiln for a large industrial customer in Connecticut they bought six more. We custom designed the control panels so they could squeeze two control systems into one NEMA1 panel and save space. These photos show the kilns in production at our factory in Swedesboro NJ.

Six DaVinci kilns photo#4 Six DaVinci kilns photo#3 Six DaVinci kilns photo#2 Six DaVinci kilns photo#1

A Super Insulated Special Kiln for Battery Testing

A super insulated kiln ring for a customer who is doing year long testing of liquid metal batteries. 4-1/2″ of brick with 2″ of backup mineral wool on the sides, 6″ of brick on the top and 6″ of brick and 2″ of calcium silicate on the bottom.

Superinsulated Kiln Ring
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Broken brick on a damaged kiln

Here are some photos I saw of a competitor’s kiln while fixing some of Easy-Fire kilns at Penn State. The kiln still works but for how long? Note how the soft K23 firebrick (the same brick all kiln manufacturers use) does not take normal abuse well. That is why L&L invented and uses hard ceramic element holders.

IMG_6104
See where a kiln shelf hit the brick while unloading

See where a kiln shelf hit the brick while unloading

Broken Kiln Photo#3

How does that element stay up?

This L&L Easy-Fire kiln is 9 years old. The controls and wiring needed some tender love but look how the inside of the kiln compares with the Cone Art kiln.

This L&L Easy-Fire kiln is 9 years old. The controls and wiring needed some tender love but look how the inside of the kiln compares with the competitor’s kiln.

(Read More)