We bought this KM18T Pro 3 Zone Paragon heat treating furnace to replace the older Paragon heat treating furnaces we were using for stainless steel. The older ones got the job done, but they took four hours to reach operating temperature. This new furnace reaches operating temperature in about ten minutes.
This furnace was developed by Paragon in the USA in close collaboration with Corin Urquhart from Gameco. Corin is an experienced knifemaker and this shows in the features of this furnace.
- Maximum temperature 1287 degrees Celsius
- 415v three phase, 5400 watts, 3 x 8 amps (240v option available)
- 133mm x 165mm x 457mm internal chamber
- closed-loop PID control
- three separate heat zones
- 70mm thick ceramic fibre insulation (no bricks)
- long-life relays and heat elements
- touchscreen controller
- guillotine door with spring assist
This isn’t a furnace for a home hobbyist - you simply won’t recover the cost. It is best suited to situations where it’s used for heat treating upwards of 300 blades a year, or dealing with high end exotic steels on expensive knives. It save us a lot of time which allows a quicker turnaround on the knives.
In our use we’ve found this furnace to achieve a temperature rise of approximately 100 degrees Celsius per minute at the maximum rate. The temperature control is very accurate; the three elements are individually controlled to reach and hold chamber operating temperature without overshoot.
The lining is delicate with coated compressed fibre. On Corin's advice we put some 10mm kiln shelf on the floor to protect it agains accidental bumps and scratches. The side's are easily chipped so care needs to be taken on putting knives in and out of the kiln.
The touchscreen interface is easy to use, and it provides useful feedback in the form of temperature over time graphs and calculation of the cost of electricity used. Creation and modification of heat treatment programs is simple, and the unit comes pre-loaded with programs for a range of steel. There are 28 user programmable "recipes" allowing a good range of heat treatment and tempering cycles. It has a wifi connection to download firmware updates so you oven can be kept up to date. Corin has been in regular contact with Paragon improving this interface.
There is an option to retrofit an inert gas connection, which we will be looking at in the future. This will allow us to heat treat naked blades without using stainless steel foil and have no surface scale form. This will make things faster and easier for clean up of blades.
Asides from metal this furnace is also suitable for applications involving jewellery, ceramics, and glass. We’re very happy with it and it’s already saving us money in electricity and time.
To purchase this in Australia see www.artisansupplies.com.au