Ceramics: pottery wheels and Kiln

Hi All!

We got ourselves a Kiln and a couple of pottery wheels. I later realised this might is quite unusual to have in hackspaces. More of a gut feeling than a fact.

But if it is so, why do you think that is and what might be the gotchas /shortcomings of having a ceramics area?

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We’re hoping to put a kiln into the renovated Farset Labs in Belfast, as well as providing a few of the very basic tools around ceramics, but you’re correct - it’s not something you see as often as you’d expect.

I think perhaps one of the reasons is the need to provide an adequately filtered wastewater connection from a reasonably sized sink in the same workshop, otherwise many aspects of ceramics work are hindered to the point of not being worth it.

FWIW, we see the kiln as being a multi-purpose tool - heat treating metals, fusing glass in moulds, opening up precious metal clay work, finishing for 3D printed parts, and perhaps things like dehydrating materials (maybe before resin casting…?) and treating coatings.

We’d also like to fit downdraught venting (out to air) and I’m eyeing the possibility of flushing the chamber with inert gas as well, covering all bases for certain processes. We’ll see.

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I think traditional ceramic kilns might be damaged by putting metals in it. And from what I have seen not “air tight” so you might be putting in more gases than you want. Maybe those microwave microkilns might be a good exploratory option.

I was told top loading kilns are cheaper but the lid fails frequently. And was recommended front loading.

Is Farset labs in a residential area?

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We used my kiln at Newbury for a while before I moved away. We never used it for pottery in the end but we did use it for aluminium casting. Seemed to work very well.

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