Small Kiln Survey Part I
Over the next few weeks I will be looking at several small ceramic test/bead kilns. I thought I would start with the most frequently recommended kiln back when the Beads-of-Clay group was new and there were not many options out there.
So here we go: AIM 88 kiln
I have had mine for at least 6 years. I bought it from Bailey Ceramics. The AIM company is located out west and it often takes quite a while to get the kiln. I was advised at the time to buy through a ceramics supply company since they are better equipped to handle customer service. I purchased mine with a Bartlett digital controller since I wanted to be free of having to turn it up every few hours. I know that quite a few folks have this kiln and find it to be extremely reliable and fast. I trust mine and it can fire a load to cone 06 in just under 4 hours. I do not use it for any higher cones since it doesn't work well for me at those higher heats. But it is more of a wiring problem than a kiln problem as most folks purchase this kiln in the first place because it is rated to fire to cone 10 (porcelain) on 110v household current.
Here are the specs on this kiln.
The New AIM Model 88/D is the computerized version of their popular Model 88 Test Kiln. The 8”x8”x9” deep chamber fits lots of test tiles or miniatures: even small to medium-sized pieces. It fires easily to Cone 10 on 110V household current. The AIM 88/D features a Bartlett 3-Key Controller with both ConeFire and RampRate software for the greatest programming flexibility. Also includes a hinged lid, metal kiln stand and (1) spy hole with plug. The 88/D has a standard 110V cord with a 3-prong plug.
You can also purchase this kiln without the Digital controller. Price without the controller is about $240 less.
Price range including shipping for the digital version of this kiln is around $606-$650.
This is a top loading kiln. I believe that the ConeFire Option on the digital controller is a great advantage. Mine does not have this. ConeFire lets you pick the cone you want and the kiln knows what to do. I had to program mine on a schedule I got from the Bartlett company.
So this is our first part of the series on small kilns. Please ask questions so that I can plan answers for them in subsequent posts.