Kijiji score - nice little kiln and a bunch of other cool stuff too

Discussion in 'Foundry tools and flasks' started by Tobho Mott, Oct 11, 2018.

  1. Tobho Mott

    Tobho Mott Silver Banner Member

    Why is everyone I meet through Kijiji (aka Canadian Craig's List) a recent widower? The guy I bought my edge/spindle sander from a couple years ago just about started crying on me.

    Scored a nice haul (and cheap) off a really nice old guy last night in a mich keas awkward encounter after work.

    He lost all interest in his hobbies when his wife passed away about a year ago, so he's selling all his toys dirt cheap, and even selling the house he built himself too.

    Beautiful place, hopefully he doesn't wake up one day regretting getting rid of it all. He didnseem.happy that his gear was going to someone who would enjoy it. He told me he just sold his big lathe that was in great condition, with all his tooling, for $250CDN! Somewhere right now, some lucky guy is turning something with a big old grin on his face, I guess... Probably an even bigger one than I have on mine.

    what I got:
    - 1 small electric kiln (runs on 110v)
    He made this himself, seems really well made. Said it's good up to 1700-1800F.
    - 1 sturdy steel angle stand for the kiln with a shelf below
    - 52 of those little white crucibles
    - 23 of which contained a cast aluminum ingot made from scrap automatic transmissions
    - 1 very nice #6 (9?) clay-graphite crucible in like new condition. At least think it is a clay-graphite, but he said it was just graphite. Possibly just a language barrier issue, as he is primarily francophone and we were chatting in English.
    - 1 big box of IFB's and IFB pieces
    - tools for the small crucibles
    - 1 very beat up leather apron that once was a very nice one
    - 1 pair of reasonably worn asbestos gloves, a couple fingers are frayed to varying degrees.

    I don't know if it was just unreasonable expectations due to knowing how light those bricks are, but the kiln is WAY heavier than I thought. It is small but movig it was definitely a job for 2, and a dolly/cart of some kind was very nice to have handy.

    Everything works other than the plug for the peep-hole is broken. It'll be very easy to carve a new one from one of the IFB scraps.

    Kiln just has on/off control and ceramic cones... Much room to upgrade, in other words, so there will be projects.

    I figure I can use this to burn out molds and finally try out this lost wax stuff everyone is so crazy about. And maybe experiment a bit with heat-treating aluminum bronze...










    I figure the bricks just in the kiln alone are probably worth more than what the guy was asking.

    Rtsquirrel and joe yard like this.
  2. Al2O3

    Al2O3 Administrator Staff Member Banner Member

    Looks like a great score. Why do you suppose he had so many of those ceramic crucibles?

  3. Tobho Mott

    Tobho Mott Silver Banner Member

    I don't really know, It's definitely curious. He said he used to do some casting, and he certainly seems to have been using them to pour aluminum ingots.

    Last edited: Oct 11, 2018
  4. Peedee

    Peedee Silver

    Good score. (Do something about those exposed element connections though!)
  5. Tobho Mott

    Tobho Mott Silver Banner Member

    Yeah, it's on the list. Thanks!

  6. Al2O3

    Al2O3 Administrator Staff Member Banner Member

    Do I see a PiD controller, K-Type TC, and SSR in your future?

  7. Tobho Mott

    Tobho Mott Silver Banner Member

    I have a decent memory for impressive vocabulary words. So I know that a TC is a thermocouple. I even have a rudimentary idea how one of those works, at least in theory...

    PiD and SSR are just a bunch of letters to me though. (I can get along OK in French but my Angry Pixie is terrible.)

    This is the project I would use to finally learn about this stuff; thanks for the search terms!

  8. Al2O3

    Al2O3 Administrator Staff Member Banner Member

    PID = Proportional–Integral–Derivative controller. They modulate and usually have a logic algorithm that calculates the difference between the set point and the sensed temperature and then relates that to how/when the signal is sent to energize the power a heating circuit for example. You could just have a digital switch at set point but they tend to have more hysteresis (under/over-shoot) around the set point.

    SSR = Solid State Relay. They are usually Thyristors and Transistors but perform the same function as a mechanical relay but without moving parts. They work well in applications with high cycle rates and short switching time. The relay in a Kiln controller may switch quite frequently so SSR is better than mechanical relay for that.

    My PiD controlled electric furnace is remarkably stable at temperature. At 1800F <+-5F is typical after it stabilizes. Now granted, this is just indicated temperature at the tip of the K-Type thermocouple. I'm certain the temperature distribution varies more than that within the furnace......from top to bottom for example.

  9. Tobho Mott

    Tobho Mott Silver Banner Member

    Much appreciated! Now to find the 'for dummies' YT vids and forum threads showing how to hook it all up.

  10. Al2O3

    Al2O3 Administrator Staff Member Banner Member

    It's not complicated. You can get a PiD, SSR with heat sink, and TC on eBay for <$25. The thermocouples in those kits should just be thrown away and buy a proper kiln K-Type TC with heavy gauge wire, usually for $15-$25US. Most of the kits that offer all components together only have an indicating range up to 400C. Some up to 999C and 1300C which is close to the upper end of what a K-Type TC can survive. Most PiD will accept 100v-240v control power. You want the output to be DC drivers for the SSR. Most SSRs will accept power voltage from 90-380vac. They require a heat sink. I'd recommend you buy components that are compatible for either 110 or 220 vac. Your 110vac is convenient but you could achieve 4x the power at 220vac.

    When you are ready to do the deed, let us know.

  11. Rtsquirrel

    Rtsquirrel Silver Banner Member

    What a score! Congrats Jeff.
    My guess on that bigger crucible, #6 salamander clay graphite. Looks in good shape.
  12. DavidF

    DavidF Administrator Staff Member Banner Member

    Hell yea! Nice score
  13. Tobho Mott

    Tobho Mott Silver Banner Member

    Right? Been hoping to find a bigger cheaper kiln for a couple years now and barely missed out on a couple free ones... But when I saw all those crucibles in his ad, I knew I had to go have a look. Nice guy, we had a nice long chat but I would have liked to hang out a while longer to pick his brain a bit more.

  14. Nice score!, definitely get a PID temp controller for the kiln, they are as low as $10 online for a copy of a REX brand Japanese controller. Those small crucibles look like ones used for refining gold by oxidizing off any lesser metals.
  15. Tobho Mott

    Tobho Mott Silver Banner Member

    It's funny you should say that...
    When I started to ask him about the other one ("looks like a nice clay-graphite crucible you've got there" type of thing), he sort of halfway cut me off with, "it's a graphite crucible... That's for gold! You can fill it up if you have enough gold," grinning. Which threw me off enough that instead of asking if he meant *clay*-graphite like I wanted to, I just smiled back and told him that sadly I do not have enough gold to do that. I'm not sure if he meant to imply the little ones are NOT for gold; likely he was only joking.

    All I know for sure is that the aluminum ingots fit in them perfectly, and were stored inside them when I got there.

  16. Tobho Mott

    Tobho Mott Silver Banner Member

    They say a picture says a thousand words.

    *I* say a video shows a thousand pictures!


    PS. the kids borrowed my tripod without asking and I couldn't find it when I filmed that. So if the ending gives you motion sickness, don't say you weren't warned!
    joe yard likes this.
  17. oldironfarmer

    oldironfarmer Silver Banner Member

    PID controller I found has fuzzy logic. It's pretty cool, the controller will learn and adapt to the system to improve accuracy of control.
    Tobho Mott likes this.
  18. Tobho Mott

    Tobho Mott Silver Banner Member

  19. Al2O3

    Al2O3 Administrator Staff Member Banner Member

    I've looked at that seller and pretty sure he is just buying and reselling the Asia sourced imports, at a healthy profit I might add. I realize he is a Canadian seller but you can buy those same components for a fraction of the price. Here is the TC. If you search "Kiln probe" you'll get a bunch of hits.

    If you are willing to wait on overseas shipment, as mentioned earlier, the rest can be purchased for $15-$25US. There are a few little pitfalls you need to watch for like temp range on the PID and operating voltages. Also, there have been some reports of the SSRs being poor quality. I have just over spec'd them on current rating and not yet had a failure. Not sure how shipments from China are handle for you but even with all the political rancor in the US, the components I order show up via China Post in 2-4 duty, no customs, no problems.

    Tobho Mott likes this.
  20. Tobho Mott

    Tobho Mott Silver Banner Member

    Yeah, there's no rush on this at all. Thanks for the advice & the link. Not sure how or if the guy commenting even realized it was a Canadian seller, or where I am based; I assume that is a coincidence since that wasn't an eBay.CA link. Maybe he's a Canuck too, who knows...


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