Desktop electric kiln
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A desktop electric kiln is a kiln that can be used on a desktop in a makerspace, workshop or other environment that is heated using an electric heating element. Kilns provide many opportunities to expand and compliment 3D printing.
Desktop kilns exist but are expensive for the components used and are proprietary designs. The only open source designs and free but restrictive license designs are all large kilns for outdoor use. RepRap printers have sophisticated heating, timing and safety features which could be useful.
There is potential for an open source kiln to be able to create its own refactory brick, allowing it to be partly self replicating.
- 1 Uses
- 2 Design ethos
- 3 Parts
- 4 Existing related projects
- 5 Further reading
There are many uses for kilns in relation to the RepRap project 3D printers which rely on different temperatures, meaning even a relatively low temperature kiln would be useful.
- Lost PLA casting, could be used to creating custom metal parts using kiln casting, creating moulds that have a reservoir for the metal included. This could be used for mechanical parts and jewellery making. Plaster or clay could be used depending on the metal cast e.g plaster can be used for aluminium but not for ferrous metals.
- Firing cermaics, very useful in combination with 3d printing paste extrusion. This can include metal clays, porcelain, earthenware and other materials.
- Sintering parts that are created using an metal powder and an adhesive e.g HP Metaljet
- Annealing PLA prints
- Dehumidifing nylon filament
- 50℃/122°F drying plaster for lost PLA moulds
- 55℃/131°F annealing PLA
- 70℃/158°F dehumidifing nylon filament
- 250℃/482°F melting the filament out of lost PLA moulds
- 660℃/1220°F melting aluminium for lost PLA casting (pouring molten metal indoors is a terrible idea, please don't do it), one possible option could be to create a mould with a resevoir for the aluminium to sit and then travel into the mould using gravity.
- 900℃/1652°F metal clays (a wide range of temperatures)
- 950℃/1742°F - 1100℃ firing earthwnware pottery
- 960°C/1760°F Melting silver (e.g for jewellery)
- 1162℃/2123°F-1240℃ firing industrial cermamics
- 1263℃/2305°F to 1326℃ firing high fire stoneware
- 1305℃/2381°F firing porcelain
- 1300-1500℃/2372-2732°F Melting glass
- ? Sintering parts that are created using an metal powder and an adhesive e.g HP Metaljet
- Accurate temperature control
- Timed programs for annealing PLA, firing cermaics etc allowing the community to build functions and processes through shared knowledge and experiments
- Logs to record heating records, useful for experimenting with new processes and diagnosing issues
- Temperature sensors for outside of kiln
- Door open sensor
- Active cooling for kiln exterior? Useful for safety features and possibly active cooling during regular operation, also cooling of electronics
- Very well insulated, given the environement heat leaking is bad
- A door lock that doesn't all the door to open above a certain temperature
- Automatic shut off for unsafe operation e.g external temperature or door is opened
- Non damaging materials including biosoluble cermaic blanket
- As safe as possible including construction, operation and materials used (e.g biosoluble ceramic fiber blanket)
- Simple to construct with realistic minimal tools
- Cheap to construct to improve accessibility
- Scalable size to allow different uses
- To be useful to both the 3D printing community and the ceramics community
- Partially self replicating if possible
The main components of a kiln are readily available and inexpensive:
Could we bring across functionality from 3D printers to have things like programmed heating routines, timers, controller logs safety features like case temperature detection, open door heater shutoff etc?
- A Thermocouple amplifier may be needed.
- 3D printed buttons and other controls will allow experimentation of kiln control interface
Used to display temperature. Could a standard 3D printer screen be used? What other information could be displayed?
- Refactory bricks, there is potential for an open source kiln to be able to create its own refactory brick, allowing it to be partly self replicating. A 3D printer could be used to create a mould for bricks allowing novel shapes.
- Biosoluble ceramic fiber insulation (cheaper than brick but potentially less efficient insulator)
- Vermiculite pebbles: So much cheaper than the board
- There has been some work on an open source kiln controller, however the license is not fully open
- A BSD licensed kiln controller
- a Raspberry Pi kiln controller