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Topic: Forays into fusing in a microwave (pic heavy)  (Read 5615 times)
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tcmatteson
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« on: January 20, 2011 11:16:09 PM »

Oh my goodness! I’ve been waiting to get my hands on one of these microwave glass kilns since I first saw them about 6 months ago! Two days ago, I was given the go ahead to buy it. So, armed with my 40% coupon, I headed to the store and came back with this box!


Inside the box I found all of this! The kiln, protective gloves, glass cutter, kiln paper, directions, gold and silver bails and hook earrings, and a whole bunch of different kinds and colors of glass!


The other things I found out that I needed after reading the directions were 1) a microwave that ran between 800-1200 watts and could be dedicated to only use of the kiln 2) glass pliers (already had from my stained glass years) and 3) a fire proof/resistant surface (I’m using a piece of board I use to solder on for when I did stained glass). If you look really closely in this next picture, you will see that I failed the first requirement. This made me a sad panda…


…But! The next day, my hubby and I came back from the store with a brand new shiny microwave! It’s so shiny I can actually see my reflection in it… and you can see some of the clean clothes waiting to be folded ^_^;;


So, now we let this glass party get started! First phase was to prefire the kiln for 3 minutes and let it cool for at least 30 minutes. I gave it two hours, just in case… Then I started my trial runs. It glowed a really cool yellow color inside. You can kind of make it out in this picture:


First trial run was set at a 2 ½ minute interval. In the microwave for 2 ½ minutes, immediately and carefully remove the kiln and set on the fire resistant pad, and let sit for 40-50 minutes. Remove the lid of the kiln and let sit until completely cooled. It didn’t end up very pretty as it simply tack fired the pieces in to place, they were much to sharp to turn it into anything later… but now I know the firing needs more than 2 1/2 minutes to do its thing!


My second trial run was for 3 minutes flat. And it turned out pretty groovy! The sides had all melted to this nice smooth and rounded edges, but the glass I placed on top didn’t melt all the way down into the bottom glass and so it left a raised bump. Hmmm…


So it was on to trial 3 where I raised the time up another ½ minute to 3 ½ minutes in the microwave. This time the top glass melted completely into the bottom piece (yay!) but the edges ended up falling and becoming jagged, so I’m going to need to purchase a glass file to file the edges down so that they won’t poke anybody Sad


So now we’re on to trial #4, where I tried to redo the glass piece from trial #1 and reheat it in the kiln/microwave for another 3 ½ minutes. What happened was not pretty Sad The piece pretty much exploded in the kiln! It broke in half and sent two of the three top pieces of glass flying! Luckily not too much damage was done… you can see where I had to scrape some glass off of the side of the kiln, but it seems to continue to work well! Lesson #1 learned: DO NOT reheat glass after it’s first time in the kiln!



But I won’t let that deter me! I’m going to continue to play around with my new crafting material and hopefully keep an update on how I’m doing!
Here are the three pieces I “worked” on after the initial trials. I really love the one on the far right because the top of the blue got hazy and looks really neat ^_^ Still need to get a glass file to file all of these down though…


Thanks for looking and I hope this may inspire some of you to try this out, too!

Comments and questions answered:
This is awesome! I want one!! lol. What store did you buy it at?
I picked this up at my local Hobby Lobby- they have a huge glass creation section!

actually, i'm pretty sure people who are into glass fusing re-heat things all the time. 

hmmmmm .... did you use any adhesive at all?  although it doesn't look like it.  i've seen regular white glue used and it causes problems if not dried first. 

maybe, since this is a microwave, the fact that your composition was thicker in one place made a difference.  in an electric kiln, this wouldn't have been a problem because the heat comes inward from the sides of the kiln towards the items.  but in a microwave one, maybe there is something in common with how a microwave works when it is for food, because the heat is sort of aimed at the center of the food and comes outwards from there.  so maybe the uneven thickness was an issue for this reason.
Yep- I know that the glass can be reheated in regular kilns. I believe that to get those pretty bowls and stuff, you fire it first to get the designs embedded in each other and then the second firing is to get the slump in the bowls... I didn't use any adhesives and the piece was completely cooled down after it's first firing (let it sit over night and most of the next day).

For the one that exploded...you can reheat glass that's been in the kiln all ready, but with the micro kiln you just need to slow it all down a little.

If you have a piece that you want to refire because it didn't come out quite right or whatever, start it out on 1/2 power and run it for about a minute or 2. That should be enough time for the glass to heat up a bit slower and then you can move on to full power. Of course then you'll probably need to adjust your total firing time down some because the kiln will heat up faster since it's all ready warm. Get what I'm saying ? I think I confused even me LOL

To get rid of those poky edges on the glass just buy a different kiln paper Smiley I ADORE bullseye thin fire paper. You can buy it from Delphi glass and it makes the glass come out so smooth ! You'll love it once you try it. I don't like the paper in the micro kiln kits at all, yuck yuck yuck !

I have a micro kiln that I use just to do quick test fires and it's a handy little gadget, I love it Smiley
I will definitely have to try the slow heat method! Thank you for that little tidbit for next time I try. Like I said, I won't let this deter me from experimenting with my kiln! I will also try the new kiln paper. But first, I think I will try flipping the kiln paper over? It has two sides on it, a rougher diamond shaped pattern on one side and a smoother side. I couldn't find anywhere in the directions which way was the top side, so I just guessed that the smooth side went up!
« Last Edit: January 21, 2011 08:11:45 AM by tcmatteson » THIS ROCKS   Logged

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« Reply #1 on: January 20, 2011 11:46:24 PM »

Wow.  I too have lusted over one of these.  Your post has been inspirational, and now it is even higher up my wish list. Thanks for the in depth review/tutorial.  Much obliged.  Can't wait to see future ventures.  well done!
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lilgothkatt
« Reply #2 on: January 20, 2011 11:52:26 PM »

That is so cool! I had no idea such a product was even on the market.
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« Reply #3 on: January 21, 2011 12:44:19 AM »

This is awesome! I want one!! lol. What store did you buy it at?
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« Reply #4 on: January 21, 2011 01:13:36 AM »

I have never seen anything like this kiln before, it's amazing and your glass pieces look so pretty. Wonder if I can get my hands on one of these...
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« Reply #5 on: January 21, 2011 03:53:49 AM »

Lesson #1 learned: DO NOT reheat glass after it’s first time in the kiln!

actually, i'm pretty sure people who are into glass fusing re-heat things all the time.  

my guess is it more likely exploded due to maybe using glass whose coefficients didn't match, cos that determines how or at what temperature they melt or something...
ok all those beads came out of the kit and the kit says 90 coefficient on the box.  

hmmmmm .... did you use any adhesive at all?  although it doesn't look like it.  i've seen regular white glue used and it causes problems if not dried first.  

maybe, since this is a microwave, the fact that your composition was thicker in one place made a difference.  in an electric kiln, this wouldn't have been a problem because the heat comes inward from the sides of the kiln towards the items.  but in a microwave one, maybe there is something in common with how a microwave works when it is for food, because the heat is sort of aimed at the center of the food and comes outwards from there.  so maybe the uneven thickness was an issue for this reason.

i have only done fusing as a spectator and i did help my mum program her kiln (but i was bad at it because it involved math or something like it)

anyway congratulations on your adventure!  sounds like you are off to a great start.  
i know my mum started out with one of those microwave kilns and found the whole fusing thing sort of magical.  probably you will like it even more and find more control as you get more into it and maybe eventually upgrade kilns.
« Last Edit: January 21, 2011 04:04:51 AM by nataluna » THIS ROCKS   Logged

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« Reply #6 on: January 21, 2011 05:06:57 AM »

For the one that exploded...you can reheat glass that's been in the kiln all ready, but with the micro kiln you just need to slow it all down a little.

If you have a piece that you want to refire because it didn't come out quite right or whatever, start it out on 1/2 power and run it for about a minute or 2. That should be enough time for the glass to heat up a bit slower and then you can move on to full power. Of course then you'll probably need to adjust your total firing time down some because the kiln will heat up faster since it's all ready warm. Get what I'm saying ? I think I confused even me LOL

To get rid of those poky edges on the glass just buy a different kiln paper Smiley I ADORE bullseye thin fire paper. You can buy it from Delphi glass and it makes the glass come out so smooth ! You'll love it once you try it. I don't like the paper in the micro kiln kits at all, yuck yuck yuck !

I have a micro kiln that I use just to do quick test fires and it's a handy little gadget, I love it Smiley
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margiej
« Reply #7 on: January 21, 2011 06:43:03 AM »

I always wondered about glass fusing, but sure did not have a clue how it is done until I read this.  Thanks for posting it.  I learned enough to know I would like to try it. 
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tcmatteson
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« Reply #8 on: January 21, 2011 08:10:56 AM »

Thank you for all the comments everyone! I'm really having fun and can't wait to share more of my findings with you all (when I have findings). So, on to answering comments and questions which will also be posted at the bottom of the original post, too, for quick reference!

This is awesome! I want one!! lol. What store did you buy it at?
I picked this up at my local Hobby Lobby- they have a huge glass creation section!

actually, i'm pretty sure people who are into glass fusing re-heat things all the time. 

hmmmmm .... did you use any adhesive at all?  although it doesn't look like it.  i've seen regular white glue used and it causes problems if not dried first. 

maybe, since this is a microwave, the fact that your composition was thicker in one place made a difference.  in an electric kiln, this wouldn't have been a problem because the heat comes inward from the sides of the kiln towards the items.  but in a microwave one, maybe there is something in common with how a microwave works when it is for food, because the heat is sort of aimed at the center of the food and comes outwards from there.  so maybe the uneven thickness was an issue for this reason.
Yep- I know that the glass can be reheated in regular kilns. I believe that to get those pretty bowls and stuff, you fire it first to get the designs embedded in each other and then the second firing is to get the slump in the bowls... I didn't use any adhesives and the piece was completely cooled down after it's first firing (let it sit over night and most of the next day).

For the one that exploded...you can reheat glass that's been in the kiln all ready, but with the micro kiln you just need to slow it all down a little.

If you have a piece that you want to refire because it didn't come out quite right or whatever, start it out on 1/2 power and run it for about a minute or 2. That should be enough time for the glass to heat up a bit slower and then you can move on to full power. Of course then you'll probably need to adjust your total firing time down some because the kiln will heat up faster since it's all ready warm. Get what I'm saying ? I think I confused even me LOL

To get rid of those poky edges on the glass just buy a different kiln paper Smiley I ADORE bullseye thin fire paper. You can buy it from Delphi glass and it makes the glass come out so smooth ! You'll love it once you try it. I don't like the paper in the micro kiln kits at all, yuck yuck yuck !

I have a micro kiln that I use just to do quick test fires and it's a handy little gadget, I love it Smiley
I will definitely have to try the slow heat method! Thank you for that little tidbit for next time I try. Like I said, I won't let this deter me from experimenting with my kiln! I will also try the new kiln paper. But first, I think I will try flipping the kiln paper over? It has two sides on it, a rougher diamond shaped pattern on one side and a smoother side. I couldn't find anywhere in the directions which way was the top side, so I just guessed that the smooth side went up!
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« Reply #9 on: January 21, 2011 11:46:01 AM »

Microwave kiln! So cool. I love the look of fused glass (and your three pieces that worked look lovely), but I never thought it was accessible to me. Hm... another thing to add to my potential over-the-border craft shopping wishlist. (No Hobby Lobby here in Canada...)
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