•The secret to cool bodies and glazes is a lot of testing.
•The secret to know what to test is material and chemistry knowledge.
•The secret to learning from testing is documentation.
•The place to test, do the chemistry and document is an account at https://insight-live.com
•The place to get the knowledge is https://digitalfire.com

Sign-up at https://insight-live.com today.

Digitalfire Insight


A desktop application for Windows, Linux, Macintosh that you download and install. Insight is a classic glaze chemistry calculator.

-It interactively converts recipes to formulas and back. The main Insight window shows side-by-side recipes and their formulas, you can make chemistry changes to one while comparing it with the other.
-Insight is also a library and a teacher
-It puts at your fingertips a huge amount of information to help you learn the principles of ceramic chemistry and it teaches you how to adjust, fix and formulate glazes.
-It is a database
-You can store all your recipes, picture, material information where you can easily find it.
It is a problem solver
-Using our videos, instructional and reference materials and our personal help you can solve problems like crazing, leaching, crawling, pinholing, blistering, etc.

The Digitalfire Reference Database by Tony Hansen

It is a public website at http://digitalfire.com/4sight. It is a materials-centric traditional ceramics knowledge-base for formulating, adjusting and fixes glazes and clay bodies. He has been maintaining it since the early 1990s (it is generated by a content management system he develops). It has thousands of pages and tens of thousands of interlinks, and hundreds of its pages rank top-ten on search engines (people often arrive and use it unknowingly). Digitalfire desktop Insight software and Insight-live.com give people the calculation and data storage tools they need to make the best use of this library.

The main recipe window in Digitalfire Insight software

Insight installs on your Linux, Windows or Mac computer. It provides a very interactive way to comparing two recipes and their calculated formulas or analyses. As you make changes in the recipe you can see how it impacts the recipes. It is ideal for demonstrating concepts like unity, analysis, formula, mole%, LOI, formula-to-batch conversion.

Desktop INSIGHT showing formula and analysis side-by-side

Desktop Insight was the first to enable users to compare two recipes and their formulas side-by-side and interactively update when recipe changes were made. It also enabled users to show formulas and analyses side-by-side.

Digitalfire Insight materials dialog window

Desktop Insight remembers materials (in its database) as formulas and their formula weights. From this it can calculate the LOI. Materials can have alternate names so they are more likely to be found in calculating recipes. This dialog provides tools for adding, editing, deleting, importing and exporting materials.

Digitalfire Insight 4.1 running on DOS cerca 1983

This was on the IBM-PC, it was introduced in 1982. Until then Insight was running on Tandy Model 1 and 3 computers. The program was shipped on floppy disks. I was lightning fast, recalculating the chemistry as fast as you could push the calculate key. It could handle as many recipes as you had disk space for and knew about 100 materials and their chemistry. However only one recipe could be displayed at a time. Many of our customers stuck with the old DOS version of Insight well into the 2000s, even though the Windows version had long been available.

The Digitalfire glaze calculation worksheet for Excel

From the 1980s to 2000s we made this spreadsheet available. It stored materials and did the calculations in the same way that Insight did. We used it to verify that calculations were being done correctly and many customers downloaded it to learn more about the theory.

Digitalfire Insight running on a Macintosh middle 90s

The Macintosh version used the same file formats as the Windows version right from the start. Macintosh customers however, were more likely to think that the program should think for them and more likely not to know which way to put the floppy disk in!

Digitalfire Insight 5.1 running on Windows 95

It is not really that dissimilar to Insight as it is today. It packed alot of power but people of the time were not inclined to believe that it was possible to do the chemistry that easily, or even that the chemistry was worthwhile learning.

Digitalfire Insight 5.0 running on Windows 95

This was the Insight jump from the old DOS version to a modern graphical user interface. Although Insight was available in Window 3.1, Windows 95 was the first version that was good enough that people left DOS behind.

Out Bound Links

In Bound Links

  • (Glossary) Digitalfire Insight-Live

    Insight-Live is an OnLine ceramic recipe, material...

  • (Glossary) MDT

    MDT is an acronym for Materials Definition Table. ...

  • (Glossary) Digitalfire Foresight

    Database software for DOS made by Digitalfire from...

  • (Glossary) Tony Hansen

    Tony Hansen is a potter, researcher, author, softw...


By Tony Hansen




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