I've always been interested in fusing glass, but it's impossible without a kiln... and kilns costs 500.00 and up, at least a good one that would work with glass, PMC and enamelling, all 3 things I have on my wish list. If you are going to spend that kind of money, you need to get it for all your needs, current and eventual. Since I didn't have a burning desire to spend that kind of money on something I wasn't quite ready to use, I'd tabled the desire, at least for now. Then I saw this crazy sounding item: a kiln that works in the microwave oven. And it's pretty affordable, you can buy one retail for under $100.00, kits that include a supply of glass and kiln paper run under $150.00!! I bought a kit, and a couple of weeks ago started to play. I admit I was skeptical about how well this would work. I am pleasantly surprised!!
It works pretty darn good... the first shot is the first group of cabs I made. It's slow going, the kiln is understandably small and you can only make 1 piece at a time. How long you nuke it and at what power level takes some playing, as each kiln cooks slightly differently, and of course microwaves vary tremendously. I've found longer times at lower power works better for mine, I had a few cracking issues and that's from uneven heat or heating 2 fast. I have a very old microwave, it's older than my soon to be 13 year old!
Because you can only make 1 piece at a time, I can only get 1-2 cabs done each night. After firing, the piece has to cool down slowly to anneal, I usually give it at least an hour, but the longer the better... glass that cools too quickly will crack or even shatter. It's better to make something, and walk away for a few hours.
I can't say I like the glass that came with fuseworks much either. I've had some experience with glass doing lampwork, so I'm going to play around with other types of glass, see if I can find some glass I like better. More experiments will be posted soon.... I found a great website that not only sells the kiln but has all kinds of helpful tips and information: http://www.microwavekiln.com/microwavekilnjewelrytips.htm. They have a great selection of glass, and the owner has been very helpful and QUICK answering my email questions.... don't know her personally, just a happy customer!