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Fast Firing Kiln Design

Kiln Design & Plans from Ceramics Today

Frame
The frame is made from welded angle iron.
You can do the welding yourself if you have access to welding gear or get someone to do it for you.
Scrap iron merchants usually have cheap angle iron, which they might be able to cut to size for you.


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How a Pit Kiln Works
Digital Kilns, How They Work
How To Pick A Kiln For My Needs
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Different Types Of Kilns
Tips for Complete Kiln Care
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Coat per Kiln Load
Building a Fast Firing Kiln
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How Different Temperatures Effect Clay
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Carbon Burnout Problems And Solutions
Cracks In Bottom Of The Kiln
Kiln Temperature Distribution
What Is Your Kiln Trying To Tell You
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Common Kiln Firing Faults
What About Kiln Elements
Making Fire Bricks Last
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Temperature & Rate Conversion Formula
Kiln Firing Logbook








Build your Kiln Plans

Main Body


After the frame is finished, the floor is lined with a layer of calcium silicate sheeting (asbestos substitute), on which a layer of cheap, dense kiln bricks is laid.
Then the outer wall construction is commences, laying the bricks on their small side. This means less bricks are needed to build the kiln and it is not so big for a good interior stacking space, but sufficient wall strength is achieved.
Bricks are cut to fit snugly into the frame, leaving an opening of 3 inches height and 6 inches width for the flue.
The next layer of bricks are laid over the opening butting up in the middle of the opening.
These will be held in place by the bricks on the side and those on top.
It should go without saying that edges are always alternated, so that no two edges are ever exactly over each other, rather they should be in the middle of adjoining bricks. This goes for the outer skin as well as the inner skin, with the addition that it is possible to lay the inner wall so that inner joins do not coincide with outer joins.
In theory, when the kiln is fired, at no point will you be able to look directly into the interior.
This will prevent excess heat from escaping through cracks.

No mortar is used to join the bricks, rather they should be lightly rubbed against each other to achieve a perfect join.
They should be packed fairly tightly, with just a little room to move.
Spaces between the bricks will grow slightly as they tend to shrink a bit, despite pre-shrinking from the manufacturer.
This problem can later be alleviated by filling the cracks with fiber paper, if you find it necessary at all.

The top row should be laid in the fashion of a header row.
These bricks will be laid on their larger side, pointing in and cut to size (see photo). This gives a clean finish and helps to hold the walls in place.
Again, these bricks are cut snugly and should just slide into place under the angle iron.

Pick a Lid for your Kiln

During construction space should be left for a port hole, of about 3 x 3 inches.
A plug can be cut to fit from a brick.
Two burner port holes need to be cut on opposite sides of the kiln, also 3 x 3 inches. This method of placing the two burners has proven the most efficient, with the heat being able to swirl around and distribute itself more evenly.
The kiln oxidizes and reduces very well although there is an area of oxidation on the lower shelf, every kiln has it's quirks.
This kiln is fired with LPG from bottles and is quite efficient.
It has an internal stacking space of about 8 sq. ft. and can be modified to be larger or smaller.
It fires to 1300 in about 7-8 hours, less if you are game.
I have not tried it, not wanting to crack my porcelain, which I fire successfully in this kiln.
I can usually bisque in about 4 hours.

Internal stacking space is about 12 cubic feet.

Lid

A frame of angle iron must be made, with holes for the steel rods.
The calcium-silicate sheet is laid into the frame, preferably before it is all welded up. On this the medium high temperature insulation fiber is placed.
The bricks are then laid in their 3" side and cut to fit into the frame.
While you are doing this row by row, the threaded steel rods should be drilled thorough the bricks, so that they eventually meet the right opening at the other end. The inner 7 x 3 rows of bricks are only partly or not at all cut, so that they jut out and will fit snugly into the kiln body, sealing it.
This will require cutting some bricks only partly.
The edge should be beveled, as should the header row, so that the lid may ease into the body easily, see image.
On completion, nuts should be screwed onto the threaded rods and the handles welded on firmly.
The lid is the main weakness of this design, as it requires two people to lift it.
If you are resourceful, you can construct some sort of pulley or other construction to lift the lid of the kiln.

Kiln Lid

Burner Port Attachment

This small construction (see image) lets you slide a piece of custom cut kiln shelf in and out, closing and opening the burner port as required.
It also provides a holder for a burner clamp to be welded on to.

Burner Port Attach the burner port

Flue

The bottom is laid out with the smaller calcium-silicate sheet, as with the body.
On this the outer low temp, bricks are stacked up, fitting them snugly into the frame. The inner high temp. bricks are laid upright on the left and right sides of the flue and on their side at the back.
In the upper half of the flue, all bricks may be of the low temp. sort, as this area doesn't get so hot.
The flue is flush with the kiln body, so no chimney is necessary and it reduces well. Instead of a damper, a piece of brick can be placed over the flue for reduction.
This works very well.

This design is not complete and requires some improvisational skills such as getting the bricks to fit nicely, but this is actually the case with all self-built kilns anyway.

Costs

This kiln can cost very little to build.
Partly buying second hand materials, which had not always been used, it cost me about $650, with an additional $150-$200 for kiln shelves, posts and burners.

Kiln Materials

Main Body

6 x 34 1/2" Angle Iron
4 x 32" Angle Iron
4 x 37 3/4" Angle Iron
Calcium-Silicate Sheeting (Asbestos substitute) 34 1/4" x 31 3/4"
Low Insulation Kiln Bricks (about 80)
High Insulation Kiln Bricks (about 100)
Dense Kiln Bricks (about 40)

Flue

4 x 9" Angle Iron
2 x 14" Angle Iron
4 x 34" Angle Iron
Calcium-Silicate Sheeting (which is a asbestos substitute) 9" x 14 1/2"
Low Insulation Kiln Bricks (approx. 24)
High Insulation Kiln Bricks (approx. 12)

Lid

4 x 34 1/2" Angle Iron
4 x 31" Angle Iron
4 x 4 1/2" Angle Iron
Calcium-Silicate Sheeting (which is a asbestos substitute) 34 1/4" x 31 3/4"
Medium high temperature insulation fiber 34 1/4" x 31 3/4"
High Insulation Kiln Bricks (about 42)
4 all thread, 1/2 inch steel rods about 38" long and the nuts to fit them.
4 iron tube handles 1 1/2 " diameter x 4 1/2" in length

Burner Port

4 x 12" Angle Iron
2 x 11" Angle Iron
square kiln shelf pieces to fit about 6" x 6"

Courage and perseverance often cause difficulties to disappear.



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