• Art Glass Resources, and some business information
  • Helpful hints and tips that we find online, in books and from our own personal experiences
  • Lots of great information for Stained Glass (Tiffany and Leaded), Lampworking, Fusing, Slumping, Glass Painting, Sandcarving, Mosaics and more
  • Lastly, HARRACH is pronounced, Hair - wreck

Monday, January 30, 2012

Flower lampwork bead video tutorial (glass bead)

We ran across this video showing how to make a flower lampwork glass bead and thought our readers would like to watch it as much as we did.   It really shows how difficult it is to make a lampwork bead!  

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Repairing my glass kiln

The other day I was getting ready to do some fusing in my kiln, had it all set up with firing schedule set and ready to go.  I pushed the start button on my RampMaster II and my kiln barely began to start to work.  I thought about something and quickly raised the lid on the kiln to check on my glass art project when suddenly the RampMaster blew up!  It sounded like a gun shot, right next to me and needless to say, it scared the shit out of me!  I quickly shut off the RampMaster's power and unplugged the kiln.   I also noticed that smoke was coming from the RampMaster.  It totally smelled like burning electronics.

I went online to the Evenheat webpage trying to find out what to do next.  I use my kilns regularly at my studio and I need them in working order plus I paid quite a lot of money for this kiln and don't want to have to replace it with a new one. I was hoping that they'd say something about unplugging the RampMaster from the kiln and sending it in to their factory for repairs.  But their web page said that for repairs,  have a qualified electrician work on the kiln.  It sounds like an easy thing to do except when you live in a very rural area.  And after calling basically everyone that seemed qualified in the yellow pages in my area, I gave up.  

Now I am on my own.  For this reason, I thought I'd dedicate this entire post to how I am going to repair my kiln.  So I began working on it yesterday, Friday.  I can't tell anyone else how to repair their kiln especially since I have just barely begun fixing this one.  But maybe I can help someone else out there that has issues with the electronics on their kiln and not able to use it anymore.  I see some really cheap kilns listed on Craigslist occasionally and now I'm thinking they probably have an electrical issue that the owner does not know how to fix and the manufacturer won't do repairs.

To begin with, when the RampMaster blew up, I quickly unplugged the kiln from the wall and have kept it unplugged.  You don't want to start a fire or get electrocuted.  Then I unscrewed the four screws that hold the front cover on the RampMaster II.  Once done I very carefully looked into the controller to see if I could see something that looked burned.  I did see a wire that perhaps looked slightly melted (which I will look at more closely later), but more importantly I found part of the broken piece laying on the bottom of the RampMaster itself.  I carefully fished that broken part out, it wasn't easy to do since there are a lot of twisted heavy wires in there, yet I was amazed to see that the part had all of the information I needed right there!  What luck!  

This is the broken part of my kiln, the RampMaster II,  that decided to "blow up" on me!  

Here's the remains of the broken piece that I fished out of the RampMaster.

I googled Potter & Brumfield and found out that this piece belongs to a relay.   

On Monday I'll call Evenheat to order a new relay plus I'll need to get a schematic or some sort of procedure so that I know how to disassemble the RampMaster so that I can replace the relay.  I saw that to get the relay out to replace it, I'll have to remove a lot of the electronic insides of the RampMaster!   I also want to know why the relay blew up so that I can prevent that from happening again.   

Stay tuned for updates!

January 30,  Update 
Inside the RampMaster II view 1

Inside the RampMaster II view 2

Relays in the RampMaster II.

As of today, I ordered the new part from the Evenheat company.  When ordering parts for your kiln you will need to know your model number.  You can find that number etched onto the side of your RampMaster.  This unit (my kiln) has two relays sitting side by side on the bottom right in this picture. 


February 6, Update:
Still waiting for the part to arrive from Evenheat, should be here sometime early this week!

February 11, Update:
Well I replaced the broken relay with the new part that I ordered from Evenheat.  When I plugged the kiln in the LED's didn't light up so it's still not fixed.  

March 23,2012 Update:
I forgot to give my final update on repairing the kiln.  I replaced the relay and I couldn't get the kiln to work at all.  I then went and checked my breakers and....  success! 


April 1, 2012 Update:  (not an April fools joke either!)
Well the kiln worked once and a relay blew up, again!  So the other day I ordered two new relays plus some other parts from Evenheat.  Today I decided to work on the kiln.  I replaced the original relay and tested out the kiln.  The element in the lid began heating up without me even starting up a program!  I  shut it off and tried to figure out what was wrong now.  I came across this Evenheat manual for the GTS-23.  And found this paragraph:


Kiln won’t stop firing (won’t shut off)
Error Codes associated with a kiln not shutting off are E– 2 or E-4 or E– d.
Most likely a failed relay (failed closed). A failed relay may cause the kiln temperature to increase when it should be decreasing. Depending upon your 
particular kiln model you may see up to 3 relays used in its design. Identifying the failed relay is fairly simple as the element connected to it will remain on. 
Unplug the kiln and remove the kiln control panel. Simply follow the element leads to the relay to identify it. Relays are maintenance items and we 
recommend replacing all of them when needing to replace one.
Check your program. While you won’t see the error codes if you’ve programmed incorrectly this problem is possible.


After reading that, I replaced the relay that I had replaced not long ago.  And this time when I plugged in the kiln and turned on the RampMaster, it powered up correctly.

I decided to thoroughly inspect the kiln at this point since there had to be a reason why the relay I just replaced in February had died so quickly.  And that's when I discovered the culprit.  One of the elements in the wall of the kiln is broken.  Below is a pic of the bad element.





Now I'm thinking that for some reason the relay kept blowing up because of the element being broken and not making a connection.  The ends of the element in the picture above have glass on them.  The glass must have coated the element and eventually it broke right at that spot.  There is also a dark black spot below where the element is laying, I'm not sure what that is, but when I go to replace the element I will find out!

So on Monday I'll order a new element and replace it.  I will also have to gouge out the glass that melted and broke the element in the first place, since it has now melted into the firebrick.  More pics to come!



April 10,2011
I ordered two side elements from the manufacturer and received them a yesterday.  I started the element repair this morning.  Actually, it didn't take very long either!



I unplugged the kiln first.  I can't stress how important safety is, especially when working on an electric kiln!  Then I removed the front panel of the RampMaster.  I sat it on a little box so that it wasn't hanging by it's wires.  Then, as seen in the picture above I removed the wire from the top part of the element where it protrudes from the inside of the kiln.  So as not to get confused with wiring the elements (since I replaced both of them) I removed one part of an element at a time.


Above shows how I removed the element.  The top two rows of element are really just the first element, it wraps around the kiln twice.  I gently removed the old element by hand, didn't need any tools for this.


In the picture above you can see how the element is wrapped around inside of the kiln.  The element has already been removed from the top right "ledge".


Now you can see that as I removed the old element, right behind it, I put in the new element.  The new element has two long straight twisted wires that you insert through a little hole in the kiln wall.  They are the wires that protrude through the kiln wall into the RampMaster controller, where they are attached to wires in the controller itself.



When putting your new element back into the ledge, try to compress the element slightly.  I ended up with extra element when I finished installing it.  I had to then go back and refit the element more compactly into the ledge so that I didn't have any extra hanging out.  It's important to do this uniformly which isn't easy to do!  Also don't forget to make sure that the element fits correctly into the ledge, especially on the corners.


Above is the second element being replaced.  This is the spot where this element was broken by being melted completely through by a piece of rogue glass.


Above, after removing the broken element I had to remove the remains of the rogue glass (that blackish looking area) that has also melted deeply into the firebrick.  If the glass is not removed and a new element added, that glass will melt back onto the new element and eventually ruin it.  Plus that glass will melt deeper into the firebrick as well.  Unfortunately to remove that glass I had to remove the front of the lip of the ledge because I couldn't get to it.  I did that with an Exacto knife.


Above shows pieces of contaminated firebrick that I dug out of the area with a flat head screwdriver.


The picture above shows my patch job after I removed all of the melted glass.  It isn't pretty!  I could have put a piece of new firebrick in the spot and cemented that, and it would have looked much better.  Unfortunately I didn't buy any replacement firebrick and I didn't want to wait another week, again, to order more.  Instead I used my kiln cement and "glued" back the good pieces of firebrick.  I let all of the cement dry, including a few cracks and broken pieces that I repaired, then continued with the element repair.


The picture above shows the twisted wires from the new second element protruding through the kiln wall into the RampMaster.  The two thick brown wires that are connected to round pieces of spacers which are seen in the upper area of this picture (the spacers are made of the same clay material that kiln posts are shelves are made of) are the ends of the first new element that I replaced.  There are screws that hold on a brass fitting which in turn hold the twisted wires from the element together with the thick wires from the RampMaster.  The long twisted wires were cut by me, to fit exactly into the length of the brass fitting.


The picture above just shows more of the element installation process.  You can see the twisted wire before I cut it and attached the RampMaster's wires back together.

Once done I put everything back together again.  During the entire repair process I made sure to vacuum the inside of the kiln frequently.  The element instructions said to heat the kiln for three minutes to burn a coating off of the brand new elements.  Once done, I was ready to fire!

Because of all of the repair work that I have recently done, I decided to start my kiln early in the morning and monitor it often during the entire firing process.  

Friday, January 27, 2012

Network Team on Etsy

Today I was looking at Etsy teams, (because I have an Etsy shop), and noticed that there wasn't one made for networking!  Networking is very important for all businesses (including Etsy businesses), yet it seemed to be overlooked.  So....  I made one.

Most Etsy teams are made for sellers living in certain geographical locations around the world.  Other teams are for certain types of sellers, or Treasury teams and other promotions.  I didn't see a team that would include all of the above with the intent to get more views on our shop pages and more name recognition.  Also, the Network Team not only includes sellers, but buyers too.  Now buyers can promote stores that they like!

Please follow the link below, to the Network Team.  Once you join (anyone can join), you are welcome to post, promote and advertise your Etsy shop or other's Etsy shops that you like.



Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Informative pot melt video, tutorial

Have you ever wanted to do a pot melt but were not completely sure how to do it?  This is a really informative video showing how to set up a pot melt.  If you don't know what a pot melt is, you can watch to video to see what it's all about!


These are notes for figuring the amount of glass needed to fill up a certain size dam area as given in the video.

For Soda Lime glass
1 cubic inch of glass = 1.5 oz

Procedure
1.  Weigh the oz of your glass
2.  Divide the weight by 1.5
3.  This is the cubic inches of your pour

For example:
(In the video) he had 41.6 oz of glass.
So he divided 41.6 by 1.5 and got 27.73 cubic inches of glass.

The dimensions of the dams used in the video were 6" long by 4" wide and 1" thick.   He multiplied, 6 x 4 to get 24 and then multiplied that by 1 (the 1" thick size of his dams) and came up with 24 cubic inches of available space to fill.  That is how you determine the volume of the dam that you are using.

So, in other words,  he needs to use a dam that is taller than 1", because the mold created with his dams can only hold 24 cubic inches and he has 27.73 cubic inches of glass to use.  To be safe, he will have to use 2" tall dams so that all of his glass will be able to fit into the mold without overflowing.






Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Learn how to make a round lampwork bead, video

We found another really nice video by Rio Grande on YouTube that we wanted to share with our readers.  It teaches new lampworkers how to create a round shaped bead, every time!

Monday, January 23, 2012

Excellent lampwork video

This is a wonderful lampwork video that we found on YouTube and decided to share with our readers today!  For people that do not know what lampwork is, it is the art of using a torch on glass rods to create glass beads and vessels.  

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Preparing steel molds for glass fusing

We recently bought a few new steel molds for the studio and needed to get them primed so that they'd be ready for fusing.  Just in case you are new to fusing with steel molds, you will discover that kiln wash will NOT stick to a steel mold without heat and perhaps, as I have come to find out,  a little luck as well!  

Unfortunately we forgot how to get kiln wash to stick nicely to new steel molds, since we hadn't bought any new steel molds in a long time.  A lot of glass artists use Boron Nitride spray on their molds but we already have Primo Primer on hand, so that is what we used.  We didn't apply the shelf primer on the molds while in the oven.  Instead we removed the molds (one at a time), painted, then put them back in the oven to heat up and also dry.  A lot of glass artists put their molds in their kilns to heat up but our kiln is large and it is fairly inconvenient to heat them that way.  We have also heard of other artists placing their steel molds on top of their kilns while they are running, but our kiln is very efficient and not enough heat escapes the lid to be able to heat the molds to an adequate temperature.

Above: New steel molds in the kitchen oven, heating up before applying kiln wash.  We prefired the molds in our kiln to 500 degrees and cleaned them.  We didn't use sand paper or Brillo pads on these but we see that a lot of glass artists suggest using them to rough up the surface allowing the primer to stick more easily.

Above: Kiln wash mixed in bucket with hake brush ready to use on the steel molds.


Above: Picture showing partially painted molds.  The mold on the left wasn't hot enough to allow the primer to stick on the lower section.  

As of today, I still haven't gotten my kiln wash (Primo Primer) to stick the way it should on the molds!  I lowered the oven temperature to 200 degrees but that didn't help.  I also used sand paper and roughed up the lower section of the smaller mold where the wash wouldn't stick at all but it still didn't work!  Right now I've been working on these for three days, without luck!  

As soon as I figure out what works for these molds, I'll update my post.  Perhaps I'll buy some Boron Nitride spray after I try this a few more times.

So far some suggestions have been to use sand paper or a sand blaster to rough up the metal.  Another is to heat mold in sections with a heat gun and apply primer.  Another idea, mix my primer thicker.  Also some say they spray it on with an airbrush (I don't have an airbrush).  Others say wash it first with rubbing alcohol.

Ok so this afternoon I worked on the molds again.  I washed and removed all the old kiln wash off the molds.  I then used a little electric sander and sanded the surface area on the molds and once done I cleaned them with rubbing alcohol.  I then set my oven to 225 degrees and put the molds in.  I mixed up my primer so that it was fairly thin.  Once a mold was heated, I removed it and then quickly painted on a very thin layer of primer with my hake brush.  After that I put the mold back in the oven and set the timer for 5 minutes.  When the timer buzzed after 5 minutes I put another thin coat of kiln wash on the mold and then put it back in the oven.  I repeated these steps, with all molds until they appeared to have enough primer coating to work when fusing.  Finally, it worked!


Above: Molds with kiln wash properly applied and now ready for fusing!  The mold on the left is a floral former, the one on the right is a pendant light mold.


Monday, January 16, 2012

Drop out ring notes

Picture of a drop out ring mold.

Picture of a drop out ring mold supported with shelf posts.

Picture showing glass in a kiln, melting through the bottom of a drop out ring mold.  Picture from the Slumpy's webpage. 

Picture showing completed glass art piece from the Delphi webpage.   A square drop out ring was used.

This is a great reference guide for any glass artist trying to make a fused glass vase using a drop out ring mold.  Keep in mind that all kilns are different and that you may have to adjust your hold time depending on a few variables as discussed below.

Drop out ring notes:
Two layers of 3mm tick glass is enough for a 4" drop.
For every additional 2" drop, you need to add another layer of 3mm thick glass.   
For a 6" drop vase, you need 3 layers of 3mm thick glass fused together for a total of 9mm of glass.
For an 8" drop, you will need four layers of 3mm thick glass for a total of 12mm of glass.


Slump at 1250 degrees Fahrenheit and hold for about 60 minutes.
The wider the drop ring opening, you need to use a lower temperature and/or less hold time.  You will also need to adjust temperature and/or hold time when using more layers of glass.








Saturday, January 14, 2012

Using pattern bars in a fused glass piece, video

This is an excellent video showing how to use pattern bars to create a unique design in a slumped glass piece by stlglass.  The video shows how to lay out the glass, and the steps it takes to make this fused glass piece such as stacking, sandblasting, applying pumice, slumping, finally showing the completed spectacular piece!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Onsite sandblasted glass video

This is an interesting video showing an artist working on cutting out some masking, then sand blasting an entry door to a business.  The description says it took 3 hours to complete project.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Gain Twitter followers, free

So as most people, businesses, and organizations know from being online and on Twitter and other social media sites, the more followers you have, the more you will get noticed.  By tweeting, and posting, etc., to the masses there is always the possibility that one can really get some great name recognition and sales.

One way to get more Twitter followers, (I have written about other ways to gain more followers in the past  here,) is to actually buy follows.  I have never done that so I can't share any personal experiences with you.

Recently I came across a great site!  It deals in a commodity called "seeds".  And since they use the term "seeds" money can be involved, since they are not calling these, followers.  Anyway, I signed up for the site after reading some one's review that seemed, even to me,  quite enticing.

You can join this site AND you can actually gain Twitter followers without paying money.  It helps if you have a few followers already.  Yet, I'm thinking you can start out without many followers at all, it will just be slower for you, in the beginning.  On the second day that I was on the site,  I truthfully added about 1000 new followers!  That is amazing, even for me!  I started out with about 66,000 followers so I can follow a lot of new followers before reaching my follow limit.  Yet, I have never been able to gain as many followers in one day as since I joined the site.

Remember, when you join,  to give out 3 seeds to new followers.  It seems as though more people will see and then follow you if you have more than 1 seed to offer.  Then put yourself in interest categories that have a lot of followers.  Refresh your page so that you can find the accounts that are offering more than 1 seed to new followers and check (and refresh) the page occasionally to see if there are new accounts offering multiple seeds to follow them.

Lastly, they give you 25 seeds if you refer new Twitter's to join the page.  You will find that link under the Seeds tab on the main page, and then click on the referral link on the page and it will bring to to your own  link that you can cut and paste like I did.  I wouldn't have written about this site except for the fact that it really does work.

Time lapse glass fusing video

We really like this video showing an artist, from reflectionlabs.com,  creating a fused glass piece depicting the San Francisco Peaks.  It really gives the viewer an idea of how to create a fused glass scenic art glass piece, step by step.  Remember to use compatible glass!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Time Lapse video of building a leaded glass window.

We watched this YouTube video showing a time lapsed video of making a leaded stained glass window at the Beyer Studio in Philadelphia, work done by Chris Thompson.   It really gives people an idea of how much work it takes to finish a leaded glass window!  The finished window is absolutely beautiful!

Monday, January 9, 2012

Kaiser Lee Board video tutorial

This video shows how to make a glass fusing mold using Kaiser Lee Board.  It is a type of mold material that is excellent to use when creating your own personalized,  one-of-a-kind fused glass pieces.   You have the ability to make your own shapes and designs unlike mass produced art glass molds!

Friday, January 6, 2012

Fusing glass bottle pieces to make glass art

Many glass artists have gotten into creating recycled glass art in a big way lately by using glass bottles.  One fun project is melting and fusing together pieces of bottles.  Below we have pictures of a project we are in the process of working on.  As we complete the piece we'll add more pictures as well.

For our newest project we used two recycled brown glass bottles.  We placed them in a couple of plastic grocery bags and crushed them with a hammer.  Once crushed we removed some of the larger pieces like the bottle bottoms and necks and then placed the remaining glass onto our kiln shelf.  Our shelf has primer on it as well as a piece of shelf paper.  We always have primer on our shelves even when we use shelf paper.  

We actually haven't decided what to make with our new "sheet" of glass.  The possibilities are endless!  As soon as we do decide what to do with this, we'll post more pictures and update this page.  Any ideas or suggestions are welcome!  We were thinking about slumping the sheet over a floral former to make a candle holder or lamp shade, OR slump it into a mold to make a decorative bowl.  

 Glass bottle pieces arranged on kiln shelf and shelf paper before firing.

Closer view of unfired glass pieces in kiln.

Glass bottle pieces after fusing process.

Closer view of fused bottle pieces in kiln.
Once fused together, we were able pick up the entire piece and it held together!


Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Swiss cheese (or rain drops), Fused Glass video tutorial

Here is a fun project for any glass fuser to try out.  Click here to see the video.  We are thinking that this process can be used for many interesting applications!  Use clear glass globs on dark blue glass and create a piece of glass that looks a lot like water in the sea.  Then add some sea life and you have a great stained glass window!  

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