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Thread: ABR Color Melter 3000: A quick and bitter review

  1. #1
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    Mad ABR Color Melter 3000: A quick and bitter review

    I'm so pissed at ABR and Paragon right now, I just need to vent at you guys for a minute.

    Near the beginning of this year, I bought a CM 3000 furnace from ABR. They advertise it as a collaborative design between them and Paragon, but it's basically a Paragon Vulcan with a hole cut in it. In the roughly 6 months since we got it, it has been used about 6 times. During 4 of those 6 times an element burned out, basically ruining a $100 crucible and a days work. Every time it was a different element, all of them factory installed. I emailed ABR, who passed me on to Paragon. Paragon sent me 2 new elements, which was pretty cool since they're $50 a piece. Since 4 elements have burned out, it still doesn't do me much good though.

    Out of desperation I emailed the Legendary Dudley Giberson, praying he could help me turn this thing into something usable. Along with some technical info, this was his verbatim response:

    "Hope this is of some help. You have purchased a piece of "poor" technology."


    There's pretty much nothing I can do now but write off that $1800 as an incredibly expensive learning opportunity, and maybe try to build a fort or something with this dilapidated piece of junk. I probably wouldn't be so filled with hate and rage over it normally, but this thing was supposed to be this big huge gift to my girlfriend (a soft glass worker) and I just spent 14 hours listening to her complain about what a piece of shit it is, so I'm in a pretty piss-poor mood about it.

    I'm posting this in the hopes that someone else hoping to cheap out on their first furnace can learn from my mistake. There's a reason wire furnaces are so cheap, and it's not a good one.

    I mostly stopped buying from ABR for unrelated reasons, but it is worth mentioning that the people there have never been anything less than totally awesome to deal with.
    Last edited by hedcraft; 10-10-2012 at 07:55 AM.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: ABR Color Melter 3000: A quick and bitter review

    That's way shitty dude. I dont know much about furnaces but with ceramic kilns in the past that quality of element you replace with was a big factor in how long they last. You shouldn't have to buy better ones from the start but keep in mind a kiln shell is pretty much a kiln shell. If the bricks are intact and there are no gaps it should be very useable.

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    Default Re: ABR Color Melter 3000: A quick and bitter review

    I've heard a few people have element issues, but Paragon has always been great about replacing them.

    We've run 2 of the Color Melters here probably 25 or more times each. We've never replaced an element. I've also heard the same from some others.

    Sorry you were disappointed. It is admittedly a cheaper option to the other furnaces out there. But, we've had lots of positive return on it also, including our own. But, it is what it is. Glad to hear Paragon was helpful. We don't warranty them, they do. So, we have to rely on manufacturers having good service also.

    Anyway, sorry you were bummed on it. I've had a lot of good experience with ours. Wish it'd been the same for you.



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    Default Re: ABR Color Melter 3000: A quick and bitter review

    Yea, the elements are the big weak link with this furnace I think. Not just the quality, but the way they're installed. I don't like to keep quoting private emails, but Mr. Giberson really knows his stuff in this regard, and this is what he said when I asked if this furnace was salvagable:

    "First of all Kanthal wire was never designed to do what you are asking it to do. It may be rated for 2300˚F but you are taking the elements way past that temperature because they are in a groove. The groove is like a kiln within a kiln. It is the temperature in the groove that is cooking your elements. When the temperature in the furnace reaches 2300 it is quite possible the temperature in the groove is 2400+.

    If you were to keep the temperature of the furnace to 2100 tops then the elements would last a few melts. The problem with that scenario is you cannot really make good glass at 2100. So there you have it. "

    It's worth noting that after each element burned out, they actually melted into the firebrick and had to be chipped out. Doing so ruined the groove they were in, so the replacements were just tacked to the wall with J-pins. Not one replacement element has burned out, while 4 out of 4 of the factory installed elements in grooves did.
    That's the part that upsets me. This furnace is advertised as capable of maintaining 2300 for long periods, but it's made of parts designed to peak at 2300 for a few seconds, installed in ways that significantly increase the chance of failure. It's a moped that's being sold as a Harley.

    I'm planning to strip it down to the shell, upgrade the elements, and replace the controller. I built our first glory hole, and in all honesty, I would almost pay the price of this thing to never have to cut another firebrick again. I've already trashed 4 elements and 2 crucibles. There's no reason not to go full retard at this point.

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    Default Re: ABR Color Melter 3000: A quick and bitter review

    Good luck man. Really too bad it went that way for ya. If you ever need anything, let me know. I'd jump on the oppurtunity to make it up to you.



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    Default Re: ABR Color Melter 3000: A quick and bitter review

    i would like to say that considering the level of frustration here this is an amazingly civil thread. i would like to compliment you both on being able to discuss this so respectfully, i hope others will take note. sorry about the issues, best of luck.
    "Scientists proposed that male lion's skill at ambushing prey in dense vegetation was previously unknown because of scientists' fear of being ambushed by male lions in dense vegetation." Harpers, findings, may 2013

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    Default Re: ABR Color Melter 3000: A quick and bitter review

    Dave, and abr in general are always great to deal with ime.
    You shouldn't be having sex for pleasure, only for reproduction.
    Thousands of people read my threads now. So Iím trying to not embarrass myself.

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    Default Re: ABR Color Melter 3000: A quick and bitter review

    LOL Dave's an awesome guy and they usually do whatever they can to help when things go wrong, so I don't want to be a complete hater. This is just one of those things that's too big to solve easily without someone eating it, and I've been around long enough to know it would cost way more than this thing is worth to make that guy not me.
    Plus I get to tear it apart and try to make some kind of overly elaborate jerry-rigged monstrosity, so that does make me a little bit happy..

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    Default Re: ABR Color Melter 3000: A quick and bitter review

    i guess that's serendipity for ya!!
    You shouldn't be having sex for pleasure, only for reproduction.
    Thousands of people read my threads now. So Iím trying to not embarrass myself.

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    Default

    If i can ask what are you melting and what temperatures are you melting at?

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    Default Re: ABR Color Melter 3000: A quick and bitter review

    Shit man that sux to hear, but it sounds like ur making the best of a negative situation. If it were me, I def would not stop bugging Paragon about the failed elements, at least! As a consumer, you must do everything in ur power to protect yourself! Dont forget 'the squeaky wheel gets the oil' : )
    "LIve to Love, lOve tO lIve"

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    Default Re: ABR Color Melter 3000: A quick and bitter review

    Quote Originally Posted by hedcraft View Post
    There's no reason not to go full retard at this point.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X6WHBO_Qc-Q
    Insert witty glass comment here----->

    "hollow", a haiku:

    boro color lies
    transparent shows you the truth
    make one hundred first

    -Bunyip

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    Default Re: ABR Color Melter 3000: A quick and bitter review

    hedcraft if u need any help I could help also. If your plan was to only melt soft glass then this type of unit should work fine. If u need any advise about this unit let me know I can help.
    Abe

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    Default Re: ABR Color Melter 3000: A quick and bitter review

    That kiln with in a kiln in the grove and the surface temp of the wire can even be as much as 400 degrees hotter then the air tempature in the kiln.

    I know on the electric furnace I make for metal casters which even has embedded elements. any thing over 2,000F I always advise to bring it up slow once they reach 2,000F then bump it up and let the temp stabilize before bumping it up a lil bit more till at the temp some one wants to hold it at. that. If I were to set on to 2200 and just let it get there from room temp on full blast by the time the crucible and thermocouple were 2200f the elements would be a few 100 degrees hotter and in the danger zone. esp when the elements are real new and don't have a thick oxide layer on them yet. With an oxide layer some times the elements can be a bit past there melting point but still not turn to liquid and flow.


    Dont know if this info will help much or not. but figured I'd throw it out there in case it might help you any.

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    Default Re: ABR Color Melter 3000: A quick and bitter review

    Thanks for the advice and offers guys. I'm pretty new to soft glass equipment, so I really appreciate the help.
    If i can ask what are you melting and what temperatures are you melting at?
    We're using Studio 96 nuggets and heating to 2300, which is right when the problem starts.
    Now that you mention it, I remember a passing comment from a long time back that this brand can off-gas more than some others. I wonder if maybe the off-gas combined with the extra heat in the grooves is just more than the elements can handle.

    I might buy a set of elements to test a few brands and see if it makes a difference before I start ripping into it. It could explain alot of what's going on.

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    Quote Originally Posted by hedcraft
    We're using Studio 96 nuggets and heating to 2300, which is right when the problem starts.
    That makes sense. You are melting way hotter then you need to. With spectrum in a wire furnace you should never go above working temperature 2000f to 2100f and your elements will last a long time. Your just asking a wire melter to do something it wasn't designed to do. Simple fix and I'm sorry to say it sounds like user error. The boro melts go hot but no one really expects elements to last when melting boro. Repair the groves reinstall elements and start over.

    Yes the premium spectrum nuggets can be corrosive. It will eat your lid and walls but I have never seen a problem with it eating element wire.

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    Default Re: ABR Color Melter 3000: A quick and bitter review

    I'll be watching this with interest. There will be a crucible kiln in my future, good to know this is one to avoid.

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    Quote Originally Posted by loydb
    I'll be watching this with interest. There will be a crucible kiln in my future, good to know this is one to avoid.
    I completely disagree. This is an unfair review. I checked out the specs and if you think there is a better option tell me what it is and I'll explain. With a type s thermocouple and 4.5" thick brick all around it looks no worse then every other option and better then some.

    I have nothing invested in these crucible kilns I think they are all under insulated and under powered but in comparison this one is just as good as any I see.

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    Default Re: ABR Color Melter 3000: A quick and bitter review

    How is reporting his experience with one an "unfair review"? Are you calling him a liar? Thanks, I'll take personal experience over "checked out the specs."

    I have no idea what the better option is, I'm not buying one in 2012. But whatever I end up getting, it *won't* be this one.

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    Default Re: ABR Color Melter 3000: A quick and bitter review

    Did you even read somewhere's previous post?

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