Firing small ceramic items in the Paragon SC3 / SC2

IMG_5410
First of all firing overglaze enamels in an electric kiln is just like cooking in an electric oven, only at a higher temperature, and the temperature is reached over a period of time. China paints and decals  probably have the simplest firing schedules, firing glass is more complex.

 

Paragon has a whole host of helpful items on their website including a quick start manual for the Sentry xpress which is the controller on my SC3,  I’m assuming it’s the same on the SC2.

Firstly a few words about loading the kiln, put your kiln shelf or batt on some posts to raise it off the bottom of the kiln allowing the heat to circulate.

Any glazed ( or glass items) will stick to the kiln shelf so use batt wash or shelf paper for glass. I haven’tused it in my photo, the foot of the mug is unglazed so it shouldn’t stick. But normally I would use batt wash.  For firing tiles I find most will fire fine flat on the batt, but it is probably best to raise them on a stilt or if you don’t have any stilts use props or posts that came with your kiln.

Make sure there is space around the thermocouple, and nothing touches it as this  may cause a false temperature reading.

Make sure items aren’t touching each other.

IMG_5412 The Sentry xpress gives you the option of a single speed firing,  or ramp firing ( more than one rate of temperature increase during the firing cycle).

I usually fire my large kiln to temperature over 3 1/2 hours  to reach 750 to 800 centigrade, I could use Spd2 with a rate of  227 degrees centigrade per hour but it’s a bit fast so to be on the safe side I’m going to use Pro1 so I can put in my own rate of firing. If I have worked it out correctly 228 degrees per hour should take roughly 3 1/2 hours to reach full temperature.

IMG_5411 So place your item(s) in the kiln, (here I’m firing decals). I leave the door open slightly when firing decals, this allows the binders to burn away, then I close the door. But for overglaze enamels I close the door.

 

 

 

  • Switch the kiln on at the wall and flip the switch on the kiln, the kiln will beep and the reading will flash Idle.
  • Press start again, use the arrow up key to select Pro1, you may have to press this button several times to get to Pro1.
  • Press start, RA1 and a temperature reading start to flash, use the arrow up, or arrow down buttons to set the temperature to 228C.
  • Press start, now enter your final firing temperature which for overglaze enamels is between 750 and 800C, basically it depends on colours but a good choice is 780C,  this is also the temperature I fire decals.
  • Press start, you can now hold the temperature if you wish but we don’t need to do that so using the arrow buttons set it at 0.
  • Press start, you now go to ramp 2, ‘R2’, for overglaze we don’t need this so set it at 0.
  • Press start, now ‘start’ comes up in the read out, press start again and your kiln is now firing. Listen and you will hear it clicking on and off and you will see the temperature start to rise.
  • Once firing is complete the kiln beeps, switch it off and leave it to cool down before opening.

I hope this helps you firing ceramic items, I’ll have to do a glass programme next.

Have fun.

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About eganj1

Obsession making artsm crafts, and all things creative
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