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elixirmixer
04-17-2017, 07:32 AM
The first piece of equipment to be reviewed is the

"RapidFirePro - LP" by tabletopfurnace.com

This portable and therefore versatile furnace boasts a range of colours, digital display, and up to 1200 degrees Celsius heatin capacity. That's enough to melt your basic precious metals and more than enough to calcine those hard to whiten salts!

At around $500US + Postage, it's a little bit of a mouthfull, nevertheless, cheaper than some of your commercial grade pottery kilns, however still with enough punch to sublimate your specimens!

I have just ordered one today, we shall see when it arrives, if it has what it takes to get the job done!

Thanks for reading!

More equipment reviews in the future, bye for now!

EM

Andro
04-17-2017, 07:48 AM
I have just ordered one today, we shall see when it arrives, if it has what it takes to get the job done! [...] More equipment reviews in the future, bye for now!

If you're going to post "recommendations and reviews", better wait until the items actually arrive and you actually "review" them before you "recommend" them.

Axismundi000
04-17-2017, 09:55 AM
An equipment thread were cheap items or simple workarounds would be useful I think. For example the cheap Labjack or the dessicator mentioned on the other thread. List of useful online sources (apart from the obvious EBay and Amazon).

elixirmixer
04-17-2017, 10:39 AM
I mainly just posted it as a reminder to begin reviewing my equipment as it comes in, because one of the messages I'd like to share with the beginners that are (hopefully) reading, is just to work out exactly which aspect of alchemy most interests them, the best tools for the job, and where to spend the money, since I have blown well I to the tens of thousands on crap that looking back was a huge waste of money.... No need for others to make my foolish mistakes.

But yes I agree Andro, these posts could all be a little more thought out... That might be the next hurdle to jump in my AF's adventure :)

Andro
04-17-2017, 01:53 PM
I have blown well I to the tens of thousands on crap that looking back was a huge waste of money.... No need for others to make my foolish mistakes.

But yes I agree Andro, these posts could all be a little more thought out... That might be the next hurdle to jump in my AF's adventure :)

Good idea, to actually think before posting... I think we're on to something here :)

I wrote what I wrote because the thread is titled "EM's Equipment Recommendations and Reviews", yet there was no review, only something you've ordered and haven't received (or reviewed) yet - so it can be somewhat misleading...

And (IMO) it would also be nice to share what "crap" you have "blown tens of thousands" on and it turned out to be a "waste of money" (and WHY it was such a "waste of money").

JDP
04-17-2017, 06:50 PM
And (IMO) it would also be nice to share what "crap" you have "blown tens of thousands" on and it turned out to be a "waste of money" (and WHY it was such a "waste of money").

I was wondering about that too. How can anyone spend so much on equipment and find out that it was all for nothing??? When I buy something is because I have a pretty good idea that it will likely work for what I want or need. You also do some research first before jumping into buying any expensive piece of equipment, to make sure that you will have a use for it. For example, I spent $500 on my electric kiln, used mostly for cupellation & scorification operations, and before I bought it I actually spoke to some people who had electric kilns and used them for similar purposes, and they all recommended the use of electric kilns for such purposes. It turns out that their recommendations were spot on: purchasing an electric kiln was one of the best investments I made for the kind of investigations that require cupellation/scorification. Before that I used to perform these operations with blow torches of several sizes and fire bricks, which takes much more work and care to carry out. The electric kiln has made these operations much easier to perform.

elixirmixer
04-17-2017, 09:20 PM
And (IMO) it would also be nice to share what "crap" you have "blown tens of thousands" on and it turned out to be a "waste of money" (and WHY it was such a "waste of money").

Will do! :)

zoas23
04-17-2017, 09:31 PM
It looks nice. Probably electric klins are one of the safest products when it comes to equipments (I mean that they do what they claim to do and no it would be strange to be surprised by having results which are not the ones described by the manufacturer). Other equipments are a bit more tricky.

There's only 3 things I don't LOVE about the one you have chosen: the refractory surface is a bit small (or "thin"), thus probably the temperature will drop faster than you may want to. No chimney? They can be useful. 1200ēC... I would have chosen one that goes a bit further (1500ēC maybe).... 1200ēC can be a bit low for some things (not necessarily alchemical, but if you want to, say, create an equipment with ceramic yourself and cook it, then 1200ēc is a bit low).

But I doubt you'll find BIG surprises with an electric klin...

elixirmixer
04-17-2017, 09:52 PM
I have chosen this kiln to calcine plant ashes specifically, and exclusively.

I figure if I never run it over 450 degrees, and do t put anythig except a bit of ash in there, then hopefully this little baby will last a life time.

I will probably one day down the track, get their other model the QuikMelt Pro, for pouring ingot ect.

I've heard that the electric kilns of ebay made by Chinese manufactures are very dodgy, sometimes they wouldn't even reach the temps that were advertised and one persons set on fire so I've avoided them completely.

This week the computer should hopefully be up and running again and I can start taking photos and setting up some well presented posts. ElixirMixer needs an administration upgrade I think.

Plenty of old tech around here to bitch about in terms of dodgy equipment, less than ideal methods, and money down the drain.

This has inspired a question that I might relocate....

JDP
04-17-2017, 11:08 PM
It looks nice. Probably electric klins are one of the safest products when it comes to equipments (I mean that they do what they claim to do and no it would be strange to be surprised by having results which are not the ones described by the manufacturer). Other equipments are a bit more tricky.

There's only 3 things I don't LOVE about the one you have chosen: the refractory surface is a bit small (or "thin"), thus probably the temperature will drop faster than you may want to. No chimney? They can be useful. 1200ēC... I would have chosen one that goes a bit further (1500ēC maybe).... 1200ēC can be a bit low for some things (not necessarily alchemical, but if you want to, say, create an equipment with ceramic yourself and cook it, then 1200ēc is a bit low).

But I doubt you'll find BIG surprises with an electric klin...

A decent-sized electric kiln that can go so high as 1500ēC is not only going to be more expensive, it will also not likely work on household currents and will need higher voltages/wattages.

The furnaces and forges of the times of the alchemists & chymists did not get that hot either, unless we are talking about the blast furnaces for producing iron and steel, which employed "batteries" of double-bellows, sometimes powered by animal or water wheels, to achieve such tremendous temperatures, but this was practically industrial scale stuff, not something you would find in an average alchemical/chymical lab. The forges & furnaces you would typically find in the labs of alchemists & chymists would not reach much beyond 1350ēC even when using hand-operated single bellows. Even today, operating with electric air pumps and fans and combustible gases it is still difficult to go much beyond this temperature. You need very efficient refractories and insulators to be able to prevent heat dissipation and thus get the temperature higher.

Axismundi000
04-17-2017, 11:50 PM
I have chosen this kiln to calcine plant ashes specifically, and exclusively.

I figure if I never run it over 450 degrees, and do t put anythig except a bit of ash in there, then hopefully this little baby will last a life time.

I will probably one day down the track, get their other model the QuikMelt Pro, for pouring ingot ect.

I've heard that the electric kilns of ebay made by Chinese manufactures are very dodgy, sometimes they wouldn't even reach the temps that were advertised and one persons set on fire so I've avoided them completely.

This week the computer should hopefully be up and running again and I can start taking photos and setting up some well presented posts. ElixirMixer needs an administration upgrade I think.

Plenty of old tech around here to bitch about in terms of dodgy equipment, less than ideal methods, and money down the drain.

This has inspired a question that I might relocate....

There is a point of view that plant ash should not be calcined too high temp. Perhaps you have found already like me that plant ash eats into the glaze of the crucible readily so unglazed is preferable. Also with electric kiln a lid on the crucible is important because the caustic vapour of plant salts can effect the electronics of the kiln.

zoas23
04-18-2017, 12:05 AM
A decent-sized electric kiln that can go so high as 1500ēC is not only going to be more expensive, it will also not likely work on household currents and will need higher voltages/wattages.

The furnaces and forges of the times of the alchemists & chymists did not get that hot either, unless we are talking about the blast furnaces for producing iron and steel, which employed "batteries" of double-bellows, sometimes powered by animal or water wheels, to achieve such tremendous temperatures, but this was practically industrial scale stuff, not something you would find in an average alchemical/chymical lab. The forges & furnaces you would typically find in the labs of alchemists & chymists would not reach much beyond 1350ēC even when using hand-operated single bellows. Even today, operating with electric air pumps and fans and combustible gases it is still difficult to go much beyond this temperature. You need very efficient refractories and insulators to be able to prevent heat dissipation and thus get the temperature higher.

The one I have does the trick and works with 220V (the standard of my country), not with 380V (triphasic... the current that uses, i.e, the water pump of my building, the elevator, etc). It would be pointless to write a review, because it's "made in Argentina" by an independent company (actually, it's a small family business)... but the weight is around 60 kilos, so no sane person would buy it unless you live here... the shipping cost would be more expensive than the product itself.
The refractory material is by far thicker (the "internal refractory walls" are more or less 18cm thick) and it has a very good insulation. i.e, the oven can reach 1500ēC inside, but the external metal remains touchable even after DAYS of extreme heat. It also has a very slow drop of the temperature (from 1500ēC to room temperature, it takes some 30 hours). The nice thing of finding a "family business" is that they had a conversation with me and they built it according to what I said (and included a chimney that can be opened or closed as a gift).

The "super hot" temperatures have been useful to experiment a few things with ceramic.

JDP
04-18-2017, 02:09 AM
The one I have does the trick and works with 220V (the standard of my country), not with 380V (triphasic... the current that uses, i.e, the water pump of my building, the elevator, etc). It would be pointless to write a review, because it's "made in Argentina" by an independent company (actually, it's a small family business)... but the weight is around 60 kilos, so no sane person would buy it unless you live here... the shipping cost would be more expensive than the product itself.
The refractory material is by far thicker (the "internal refractory walls" are more or less 18cm thick) and it has a very good insulation. i.e, the oven can reach 1500ēC inside, but the external metal remains touchable even after DAYS of extreme heat. It also has a very slow drop of the temperature (from 1500ēC to room temperature, it takes some 30 hours). The nice thing of finding a "family business" is that they had a conversation with me and they built it according to what I said (and included a chimney that can be opened or closed as a gift).

The "super hot" temperatures have been useful to experiment a few things with ceramic.

Yes, at that higher voltage it is possible. Other countries, like the United States, use 110-120v which would make it difficult to be able to power a larger kiln that can reach such a temperature.

How big is the chamber (i.e. the "combustion chamber", which for an electric kiln is a misnomer since there is no combustion going on inside it) of the kiln you had custom made?

zoas23
04-18-2017, 04:39 AM
Yes, at that higher voltage it is possible. Other countries, like the United States, use 110-120v which would make it difficult to be able to power a larger kiln that can reach such a temperature.

How big is the chamber (i.e. the "combustion chamber", which for an electric kiln is a misnomer since there is no combustion going on inside it) of the kiln you had custom made?

The chamber is SOMEHOW custom made. I bought it from a small family business that creates klins for several uses (chemistry, ceramicists, industries, etc)... so they interviewed me and asked me what I wanted and they "customized" a model they had, but they didn't begin from zero.

The combustion chamber is not very big because the refractory material is VERY thick... the "floor" is 20x25 cm; the height is 13 cm (i.e, that's one of the "customized" things... they gave me the amount of cubic centimeters I could have... but it was up to me how to distribute them... I decided that I wanted it "wide" and sacrificed a bit the height, because 13 cm was good enough for me). I did an animation with 3 photos as to show it to you:

https://s9.postimg.org/qbreaz9nz/output_Jn_MHgg.gif

(in the two frontal photos you can see a black "dot"... it is a hole that is connected to the chimney that you can open or close as you wish).

It has a very good isolation, as you can see in one of the photos, you can open it with bare hands when it's red hot inside. The metallic heaters are "inside" the refractory material, so you can't see them. It is definitely not "portable" (the floor is 1 meter* x 80 cm and the height is 65 cm... and it weights some 60 or 70 kilos... I had to ask a friend to help me to take it out of the car and get it into my house, I couldn't lift it by myself). If I am not wrong, I payed for it $450 dollars. It was the "biggest" one they could build for 220V... the other ones would either have less heat or had to work with 380V, which is our triphasic voltage here, but I didn't want it to be triphasic because it's obviously a burden).

*1 meter including the "controls".... the box itself is 80x80 cm... but the controls are "attached" to one of the sides... not visible in these photos because of the angle of the pics... but they are normal digital controls without anything quite surprising).

elixirmixer
04-18-2017, 08:18 AM
Can anyone recommend an incubator brand?

I'm specifically looking for a decent size, that can maintain a 37.5 with an accuracy of +_ 0.2%

zoas23
04-18-2017, 05:54 PM
Can anyone recommend an incubator brand?

I'm specifically looking for a decent size, that can maintain a 37.5 with an accuracy of +_ 0.2%

What I did is visiting yet another family business and ask them to buy the mechanism for an X amount of liters (i.e, the electric & electronic parts)... and then I placed them on a box that looks like a small closet. They whole thing works perfectly and I payed maybe $40 for an incubator with internal proportions of 50x50x75 cm.
I just saw some "Lab incubators" of similar characteristics and they go from $350 to $1,000.

I would take a look at some people selling incubators for chicken eggs in your area and phone them asking them if they are willing to sell you the electric mechanism only (for the amount of liters that you want). The one I have works from room temperature to 42ēC... and it's +- is more or less 0.2ēC...

If I were you, I would investigate that other option.

Aham
04-19-2017, 01:59 AM
Can anyone recommend an incubator brand?

I'm specifically looking for a decent size, that can maintain a 37.5 with an accuracy of +_ 0.2%

One DIY option is to buy a cheap cooler, a heating pad and an electronic control

http://www.sportsmanswarehouse.com/img/products/original/igloo_quick_and_cool_100_quart_cooler_1181931_1.jp g

http://www.jindalmedical.com/HEATING-PADS/images/Heating%20Pads_zoom/Heating-Pad-Economy.gif

http://www.omega.com/prodinfo/images/pid-controllers.jpg

Bam... you have an incubator with high precision controls

z0 K
04-19-2017, 02:44 AM
One DIY option is to buy a cheap cooler, a heating pad and an electronic control

http://www.sportsmanswarehouse.com/img/products/original/igloo_quick_and_cool_100_quart_cooler_1181931_1.jp g

http://www.jindalmedical.com/HEATING-PADS/images/Heating%20Pads_zoom/Heating-Pad-Economy.gif

http://www.omega.com/prodinfo/images/pid-controllers.jpg

Bam... you have an incubator with high precision controls

Excellent system you have there. I use heating pads for sweat distillations as well as incubation and curing of the united elements into the Quintessence. I also use Variac controllers for absolutely precise heat control from sweating temps to 1400F calcination for kiln control.

Axismundi000
04-19-2017, 11:41 AM
I use a 'petpad' but it is pre-set to 38 centigrade any website with DIY info about switches and heating pads?

Also a cheap reptile egg incubator is about 1/4 the cost of a lab incubator but the temperature variance is about + or - 5% so not as accurate as Elixirmixer Specified.

Aham
04-19-2017, 12:17 PM
Excellent system you have there. I use heating pads for sweat distillations as well as incubation and curing of the united elements into the Quintessence. I also use Variac controllers for absolutely precise heat control from sweating temps to 1400F calcination for kiln control.

Thanks z0 K. I didn't occur to me to use heating pads for sweat distillation but that's a really good idea.

A kiln is my next DIY project but can't really justify the $200 cost to build it right now but... compared to the $400-$500 for a bench top kiln, $200 is a bargain. :) I was thinking of going the Variac control path and it sounds like you prefer it as well. Thanks for the tip.

Dendritic Xylem
04-19-2017, 04:37 PM
I spent $500 on my electric kiln, used mostly for cupellation & scorification operations, and before I bought it I actually spoke to some people who had electric kilns and used them for similar purposes

What is the brand/model of your kiln?

I know electric is good for cuppeling, but do you recommend a propane furnace for the first melting step of an assay? The only reason I could think of to not use propane for the initial reduction melting would be the lack of precise temp control like that of a thermostatically controlled electric kiln.

I ask because I would like to get a smaller electric kiln than my big ceramic one, for better efficiency in cuppeling. I'm wondering if I should just do the large crucible melts in my propane crucible furnace, then get a smaller/cheaper electric kiln just for cupels.

Or should I try to get a big enough electric kiln to also fit my size K crucible melts?

JDP
04-19-2017, 06:45 PM
What is the brand/model of your kiln?

http://www.paragonweb.com/Q11A.cfm

Bought it about 4 or so years ago. Best investment I made regarding scorification & cupellation operations. It will fit cupels and scorifiers as big as 4 to 5 inches in diameter.


I know electric is good for cuppeling, but do you recommend a propane furnace for the first melting step of an assay? The only reason I could think of to not use propane for the initial reduction melting would be the lack of precise temp control like that of a thermostatically controlled electric kiln.

Yes, absolutely, use propane for meltings, and electricity for scorifying & cupelling. Meltings do not have to be very precise. You can judge the approximate temperatures by the glow of the combustion chamber and crucible:

https://www.hearth.com/talk/attachments/metal-color-temp-chart-png.100306/


I ask because I would like to get a smaller electric kiln than my big ceramic one, for better efficiency in cuppeling. I'm wondering if I should just do the large crucible melts in my propane crucible furnace, then get a smaller/cheaper electric kiln just for cupels.

Yes, for smaller scale operations. No need to fire up a big kiln just to cupel some sample. You want a smaller kiln for that.


Or should I try to get a big enough electric kiln to also fit my size K crucible melts?

It depends on what is cheaper in your area: electricity or gas? If gas is cheaper, use it for melting and other types of operations that require heat, other than scorification/cupellation (these are always more conveniently carried out by electricity since they need oxidizing atmospheres.) If electricity is cheaper, then you might want to get several electric kilns/furnaces for various purposes to economize on gas in the long run.

Dendritic Xylem
04-19-2017, 09:43 PM
Thank you!

Kiorionis
04-19-2017, 10:14 PM
Yes, at that higher voltage it is possible. Other countries, like the United States, use 110-120v which would make it difficult to be able to power a larger kiln that can reach such a temperature.

I own a small kiln, 8 × 8 × 8 inches, and it runs on 120 volt outlet. It's pretty sweet for plant works. Haven't tried to use it for metal things.

Dendritic Xylem
04-21-2017, 03:28 PM
Anyone looking to buy a kiln should try out craigslist or other classifieds.
Just yesterday I purchased the following kiln used, but in excellent condition, for $280...

http://jenkenkilns.com/gs-beadannealer.aspx

It's marketed as a bead annealer but goes up to 2000f so should work ok for calcinations, cupellations, and melting silver.

elixirmixer
07-16-2017, 05:55 AM
The rapid fire pro works well and is very suitable for plant calcinations. The control is only in farenheight, which is stupid, but it is a USA product after all.

I had the whole system turn a black on the inside from the oils in my plant ashes, however, when I cranked up the heat, this all seemed to disappear.

Seems to work okay but the control and settings are just stupid. You can't turn it on, set a temp and walk away, you have to dick around with how much rising time, and it's just a shit to set up really. We are in 2017 and I suppose I was just expecting a bit more user friendly interface.

Never mind, it gets the job done.

I'm very sad today because I had my first perfectly white ashes explode on the stove while I was evaporating off the water. Very, very upset.

Axismundi000
07-16-2017, 08:19 AM
I have a small electric kiln. To avoid carbonising the interior I will heat the material using a cooker hob to burn off as much as I can before it goes to the kiln. A crucible lid is also helpful.

elixirmixer
07-16-2017, 08:32 AM
Useful advice, what is a cooker hob? Crucibles are in the waterworks, right now im just using half a broken crucible.

Axismundi000
07-16-2017, 11:49 AM
A cooker hob is a phrase used in the UK for the gas or electric ring used to heat saucepans when cooking food. For outdoor calcination I have a cast iron Gas hob which I connect to a propane cylinder and calcinate the material.

This one is virtually identical to mine.
https://thegascentre.co.uk/cast-iron-single-burner?language=en&currency=GBP&gclid=EAIaIQobChMI8_X66tuN1QIV7RbTCh11bggoEAkYASAB EgIqrfD_BwE

Then when the material is not smoking anymore I use the kiln if I need a higher temperature also using a lid on the crucible.

Here is one I used to use but the little gas cartridges are more expensive if you have a lot of calcinating to do.
http://i67.tinypic.com/2r6kxl5.jpg

The particular image is of sulphur having first burn so it would not be sent to the kiln afterwards in this instance, only photo I could find.