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Peephole Plugs and the Downdraft Vent

The downdraft vent collection cup is positioned under a top-loading kiln.


Peephole Plugs and the Downdraft Vent

Reader Response: Gift trends

Recent Q&As: Erratic temperature display; turning off side elements in a glass kiln

News: Paragon Microwave Kiln



The downdraft kiln vent fits under a top-loading kiln or on the back of a front-loading kiln. The vent pulls a small amount of hot air from the kiln, dilutes it with room air, and vents the air to the outside.

During manual venting, the peephole plugs are removed and the lid is propped about an inch. It may seem counter-intuitive, but the peepholes should be plugged and the lid closed all the way when using a downdraft vent. Otherwise the vent will not remove the fumes, and the kiln can fire unevenly.

Cliff McCrea, a kiln technician in Austin, Texas, visited a customer who had a kiln equipped with a downdraft vent. The kiln was firing cooler on the lowest shelf; the glaze on that shelf was still powdery. The customer had been told to leave the kiln’s three peephole plugs out while the vent was on. After the customer inserted the peephole plugs, the firings were perfect. The downdraft vent had produced a cooler bottom shelf when the peepholes were open.



Barbara Jack in Eagleville, Pennsylvania wrote, “We at Inspirations, Inc. have noticed an increase in the number of customers making gifts for the holidays. We have even had to quadruple our open workshop hours.

“We've observed over the years that while you are making a gift, the person you are making it for is always on your mind. You may even share memories of that person with others during the creating process. The person receiving the gift knows that it was made especially for them by someone who obviously cares a great deal about them, and they will think about the giver every time they use or wear the gift.

“It is a joy for us to help people to accomplish these goals.”



Q. I recently replaced the controller. It now shows an erratic temperature display. It jumps up 5 or 6 degrees and then down 3 or 4. The first controller did not do that.

A. Minor variations in temperature readout are normal. Usually there is nothing to worry about, because the actual kiln temperature does not fluctuate.

Since you just replaced the controller, the thermocouple wire connections on the back of the controller may be loose. This can cause the temperature display to become unstable. Please check the connections by tugging on the two thermocouple wires at the back of the controller.

Q. Now that the Fusion-8 has two relays, is it possible to turn the side elements off and fire only with the lid elements?

A. The side element supplies about 30% of the heat. If you turn the side element off, the kiln will slow down and possibly not get hot enough to fuse glass. For this reason, we did not include a shut-off switch for the side element.



Paragon has just introduced a microwave kiln for glass fusing. The kiln operates inside a standard microwave oven and reaches glass fusing temperatures in 5 – 8 minutes.

The ceramic fiber kiln, called the Paragon MagicFuse, has a 4 1/2” diameter round firing chamber. The length of firing depends on the wattage and brand of the microwave oven. After the kiln is removed from the microwave, the glass takes about an hour to cool to room temperature.

You can read more about the kiln at


Yesterday morning as I rode to work on my bicycle, I passed grassy fields shrouded in mist. It was one of the coldest mornings we’ve had this fall, yet still mild enough to go without a jacket.

Thank you,

With best wishes,

Arnold Howard Paragon Industries, L.P. – Better Designed Kilns 2011 South Town East Blvd. Mesquite, Texas 75149-1122 Voice: 972-288-7557 & 800-876-4328 / Fax: 972-222-0646 /

PRIVACY NOTICE: Under no circumstance do we share or sell your email address.

Copyright 2008, by Paragon Industries, L.P.

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