Thought I would share a small success with you. About a month ago I decided to sort myself out a little furnace for annealing or hardening tools or small lumps of scrap metal I want to re-use, and today I am chuffed to have run it up to 850C for well under my =A3200 budget (should go over 1000C if I need it).
I bought one of those Efco 150 efforts from Germany via eBay. Very small but no controller. =A3131 inc P&P. Hole in the back for a thermocouple.
Then I bought a tiny new PID controller and huge (40A) solid state relay (SSR) - via eBay from the States, and they threw in a type K thermocouple. That was under =A350 collected from the local post office, though it took nearly 3 weeks to get to me.
Last night I wired up the controller, SSR, some idiot lights in a nice box, and thermocouple and bingo, it all works (and yes it works in Celsius, and on UK voltage). The controller is PID with self tuning, and once tuned it seems to go to and hold a temperature accurately.
So what I am saying is that converting a simple hobby kiln with no temperature control to single-phase SSR with accurate control can be pretty cheap. Maybe even cheaper if I had got the controller from where it was originally made - Hong Kong !
Now I need some tongs....and maybe some Kasenit..... =20 Steve