Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Microwave Kiln - QUESTIONS & ANSWERS - Part 5A

kate mckinnon said...
I'm getting a lot of questions from people who have seen this class advertised at Bead and Button, asking how it is possible to fire metal in a microwave. I admit that I can't even fathom it; can you point me to a web page that can explain what temperatures are achieved, and for how long they can be held, and why the metal doesn't simply arc and spark in the oven? It's a mystery to me, but I'd love to learn what you are doing.
-Email from Kate said..... 
Sam, I did my own research and I think I’ve answered the questions that I asked you on my own. My real question that remains is, how is the microwave firing any better than a torch firing? It isn’t a full firing by any stretch of the imagination; it’s just a sintering. And the firings do pollute the microwave, so you really need a separate oven for it, and then you need to buy the saggar, which has a tiny firing chamber. I am having trouble comprehending why this is...useful. Also, for glass, what is your annealing process? Fusing is one thing, I can see how you can stick glass together, but annealing is another, and I can’t see how your process could provide even heat for long enough to anneal a piece of fused work. And without annealing, the piece is not stable. I’m just not grasping why this is a good idea, either for metal or for glass. For metal clay, if it’s directed only at the craft level, then why not a torch? Torch firing is sub-optimal as well, but at least it doesn’t require a microwave and a microwave kiln to achieve the same result.   You can find Designs by Sylvanye Glass Studio's response at Questions & Answers - Part 5B

Microwave Kiln - QUESTIONS & ANSWERS - Part 5B

Hello Kate,

In response to your questions/comments let me address them one at a time as follows:
Q = Question
A = Answer
C = Comment
R = Response


Q: How is the microwave firing any better than a torch firing?
A: The microwave kiln was primarily created to fuse glass, enamel copper and fire ceramic bisque. Since its inception those like myself who are familiar with PMC or Art Clay Silver have taken the use of this unique piece of equipment to another level. Through all of my testing with and without inclusions of glass, stones, I have perfected a firing schedule that will allow silver clay to sinter. If a person is only wanting to fire metal clay than the choice would be a torch, but if they wanted to incorporate glass in their design than they would need the microwave kiln.

C: The firings do pollute the microwave, so you really need a separate oven for it, and then you need to buy the saggar, which has a tiny firing chamber.
R: Engineers who design the microwave kiln and writers of their documentation did not take into account that fiber paper and kiln wash does pollute the microwave oven and therefore tell individuals that it is okay to use the same oven. I always recommend a separate oven just for that reason and you are absolutely right.
Q: The saggar in this case is the microwave kiln itself and that is what is needed to fire jewelry design items in a microwave oven. The microwave kiln I distribute known as the MicrKiln, will accommodate up to (7) 1" square glass designs in a single firing. There are much larger microwave kilns but they are not being sold in the US today.

C: I am having trouble comprehending why this is .... useful
R: It is only useful if you want to do some of the techniques mentioned above and cannot afford a glass/ceramic kiln or just don't want to make that type of investment at this time.

Q: What is your annealing process for fusing glass?
A: I have a step-down schedule (annealing schedule) that I use that incorporates the use of the microwave oven's power levels in conjunctions with the appropriate allotted time in minutes and seconds. The holding time is also based on the thickness, size and type of glass being fused and whether or not it is being incorporated into metal clay.

C: I'm not grasping why this is a good idea.
R: It is only a good idea if you need a kiln to do some of the techniques mentioned earlier and can't afford a "real kiln." If someone is just wanting to fire metal clay without glass or sensitive firing inclusion than a torch is the way to go unless they are affair of using a torch. I have a few students that they are their spouse will not allow them to have a torch in the house.

I hope the information I have provided helps. The microwave kiln has gotten such a bad rap over the past two years do to a lack of knowledge as to how to effectively use it to achieve successful results and I just want to make sure that if someone is going to use that they know its limitations as well as benefits. I am constantly testing it with different types of materials and as I mentioned earlier, was successful this past week in sintering the new Art Clay Copper.



Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Microwave Kiln - QUESTIONS & ANSWERS - Part 4

Lillian J. said...
Can you fire Bronze Clay or Copper Clay in the microwave kiln?


Designs by Sylvanye Glass Studio said...
No, you cannot fire (sinter) Bronze Clay or Copper Clay that requires the use of carbon in the microwave kiln today however; I am in the process of testing the NEW COPPER CLAY.

One has been created by Art Clay and another by Hadar Jacobson; neither requiring the use of carbon and the extra tools.

I will post my results as soon as my testing is completed.

Microwave Kiln - QUESTIONS & ANSWERS - Part 3

Anonymous said...
I have a dark discolored spot in the bottom of my kiln, the next piece I fired kind of exploded all over the kiln. Have I ruined it?

Designs by Sylvanye Glass Studio said….
No, No, No you have not ruined your kiln.  I do however recommend that you fire on a thick piece of fiber paper (1/8”), which will act like a shelf, and then use thin fire fiber paper (1/32”) to fuse your design on.  This will do several things such as:
-        keep the bottom of your kiln from being damaged or discolored
-        acts as a shelf
-        cushions your designs and renders them with a nice flat bottom
-        and much more……………
I hope my answer helps……………….
Lillian J. said...
Can you fire Bronze Clay or Copper Clay in the microwave kiln?

Designs by Sylvanye Glass Studio said...
No, you cannot fire (sinter) Bronze Clay or Copper Clay that requires the use of carbon in the microwave kiln today however; I am in the process of testing the NEW COPPER CLAY.

One has been created by Art Clay and another by Hadar Jacobson; neither requiring the use of carbon and the extra tools.

I will post my results as soon as my testing is completed.

 





Microwave Kiln - QUESTIONS & ANSWERS - Part 2

Anonymous said...
How wonderful you are doing this blog, just when I'm getting into using my little Fuseworks kiln. I have a "big" programmable kiln for use with PMC, but bought the microwave one to save on electricity. It seemed a fine way to do a few dichro cabs for my PMC work. Anyway, I've been running into the problem of one layer slipping off/alternately cracking into several pieces. I've been using dichro with a base or top layer of black or clear (same COE). I even tried one single piece of dichro with no top or bottom layer, and it still cracked in half at 4 min. I have an 800 watt microwave with a turntable I bought at a yard sale for $5, and have been running the fuse for 3 to 4 minutes with the turntable disabled as per kiln instructions. Sometimes when I look at 3 min., it's not done, and put it in 30 seconds more per kiln instructions. So, does glass thickness have anything to do with it? Should I use a fuseable glue to hold the pieces together? Is the highest setting too much and should I back off on the highest power? Does the extended time period have anything to do with any of my problems? Some of my pieces have come out fine, but most are not. I'm spending a lot of time in trial and error, and that can add up with dichro. Sorry, lots of questions, but no answers readily found. I enjoy using the kiln, but want more consistent results if possible. Thanks so much.

Designs by Sylvanye Glass Studio said...
Happy you found my site, and will be more than happy to help you resolve your problems. First, I must ask if you know that the microwave you purchased is indeed an 800-watt. Unless you were given the manual that came with the microwave or it is indicated on the unit itself it may not be an 800. Higher wattage and depending how much higher this could be part of your problem. However, let say, it is an 800 watt then this is what needs to happen:


Note: If glass heats up to hot to fast it will crack.

• Create your design with no less than two layers of glass.
• Pre-heat your glass for 2 minutes at 70%. This will allow your glass to heat up slowly and evenly; otherwise, it will crack.
• Next, without opening your microwave door, turn your dial to 4 minutes on High (your microwave oven automatically reverts back to High). Then open and peek briefly at your piece (a rush of too much cold air can cause your piece to crack).
• From this point start adding in 30-second increments until you get the desired look.
• Add the total minutes and seconds up to give you the total Fusing Time; this does not include the 2 minutes warm-up.

Notes:
1. DO use your turntable. Despite what you and I have both read, you do need the turntable. Glass wants to be evenly heated just like in a regular kiln and the turntable helps to ensure this.

2. A “cold spot” in your microwave kiln’s top (hood) can also cause your glass to crack. A “cold spot” is where a chip of the black granite is missing thus not allowing the heat to reach that specific area causing not only uneven heat distribution but also the design facing that spot to not fuse properly.

Yes, glass thickness, the type of glass, the number of layers, etc. in the MK has an affect on how long it will take to completely fuse a design.

Your glass slippage is generally due to unbalanced layers of glass. Heat pulls or draws glass and if it is unbalanced will draw that unbalanced piece down and away.

The glue you are using is probably fine but, if it is not completely dry, your piece will crack.

Follow the instructions I have given you and you should be okay, assuming it is an 800-watt microwave.
Recap:
• Warm-up 2 minutes at 70%
• 4 minutes on High
• Gradually peek and add in 30 second increments
• Do not remove the MK from the oven without venting it for at least 10 minutes. This can cause shock to your glass also.

Looking forward to hearing from you with positive results.

“Sam”

Microwave Kiln - QUESTIONS & ANSWERS - Part 1

Sally Wooten said...
Hi Sam!

I'm happy to find this site as I just watched a YouTube video about fusing glass in the microwave using a microwave Kiln. I'm going to do some more research before I invest in this though.

Do you recommend one brand of MK over another?

Thanks!

Sally Wooten


Designs by Sylvanye Glass Studio said...
Hello Sally, so happy you found my site. As a glass fuser and instructor, I always like to test products before I recommend them and in this case, it is the MicroKiln out of Canada. I have worked with this particular MK and others over the course of 2 years and have found the MicroKiln to be the best thus far and have become one of their US distributors. In addition, the step-by-step instructions you receive with your MicroKiln were written by me an end-user. In addition, if you purchase one of my MicroKilns, you would be free to ask me directly any questions regarding its usage in the design of your jewelry.

You can find information regarding the MicroKiln on my Designs by Sylvanye Glass Studio website at, http://www.designsbysylvanye.com.


 ********************

Lillian J. said...
Where can I purchase the MicroKiln that you speak about? It sounds like you have done all the testing and can help if we have any problems. Can you give me some information without me having to go out to different websites and search for it. Can I purchase a Microkiln from you and if so what all do I get and what is the cost.

Lillian



Designs by Sylvanye Glass Studio said...
You can purchase the MICROKILN directly from my homepage website at www.designsbysylvanye.com or Cut & Paste this link into your website browser: http://www.designsbysylvanye.com/id60.html

Yes, I have been testing microwave kilns for a while now and know that the MicroKiln can do all as advertised.

The cost of the MicroKiln from my website is $125 USD (largest microwave kiln sold in the US) and comes with the following:
- 5 Sheets Fiberpaper
- 1 Fiber Shelf
- 1 MultiPen fusing-enamel paint
- Instructions for firing jewelry using an 800 - 1100 watt microwave oven

Shipping via USPS and no more than $13.00 if shipped within US
Payment can be made via PayPal or via any major credit card.

Monday, December 28, 2009

HAPPY HOLIDAYS - Responses to your Comments

Dear Blogger,
So sorry I have not replied to your latest questions or comments but I have been on Christmas Vacation.

Beginning Tuesday, December 29 -  I will begin posting your questions & comments along with my response(s) in a separate dated post entitled, "Questions & Comments."

Many of you have asked some of the same questions as others (via this blog, my website or my email address), and rather than have you read through my entire blog for answers or respond to you in an email, I thought putting them under a central posting entitled, "Questions & Answers" would help facilitate you obtaining an answer sooner.

Hope this helps and I look forward to hearing from you. 

Don't forget to bring the New Year in with a BANG!

HAPPY NEW YEAR!