A downloadable program for Windows, Mac, Linux for doing classic ceramic glaze chemistry. It has been used around the world since the early 1980s.
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 glaze 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.
It is a public website at http://digitalfire.com/home. It is a materials-centric, traditional ceramics, knowledge-base for formulating, adjusting and fixing glazes and clay bodies. It is authored as a database with code to translate that for public consumption. Tony first created database using DOS Foresight (which he wrote in the late 1980s). By the early 90s code was publishing the database as a PDF file (The Magic of Fire). The authoring system evolved into the online 4Sight CMS, it had automatic publishing tools that created the thousands of pages of the library online (with tens of thousands of interlinks). Today, new publishing code creates a Bootstrap-based UI for a mobile-first experience with many new features. Throughout the time of development, Tony has published software products (desktop Insight, Foresight, Insight-live.com) giving people calculation and data management tools to make the best use of the library.
We already had a large library of educational material (the predecessor of the Digitalfire Reference Library). The Foresight product was the fore-runner to insight-live.com today. And it was free like today. And we were warning people about the importance of safe glazes and understanding the "why" questions about the ceramic process.
First, I need to record this as a recipe in my account at insight-live.com so it can be printed at any total, documented with pictures of it on different clays, firing schedules and how they affect it, general notes. And be accessible from anywhere with any device. Then I need to start working on improving it. With all that feldspar it is sure to craze, I need to reduce it and substitute the some of K2O it contributes for MgO (from talc). With all that clay (29 total) it is sure to crack while drying, I need to split it into part calcined kaolin and part kaolin (the ball clay is not needed). And those raw colorants: Better to use a black stain. At a minimum it is better to use cobalt oxide than carbonate. The burnt umber could likely be increased to eliminate the need for both the manganese and iron (since it supplies both and has zero LOI).
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
Digitalfire Insight logo
|Media||Desktop Insight 1A - Compare Theoretical and Real-World Feldspars|
|Media||Desktop Insight 1B - Turn a Feldspar Into a Glaze|
|Media||Desktop Insight - Difficult Formula to Batch Calcuations|
|Media||How I Fixed a Settling Glaze Slurry Using Desktop Insight|
|Media||How to Add Materials to the Desktop Insight MDT|
|Media||Desktop Insight MDT: Adding a Material|
|Media||Desktop Insight: Maintain an MDT as a CSV File in Excel|
|Media||Subsitute Gerstley Borate in Floating Blue Using Desktop Insight|
|Media||Digitalfire Desktop INSIGHT Overview Part 2|
|Media||Digitalfire Desktop INSIGHT Overview Part 1|
|Media||Substituting Nepheline Syenite for Soda Feldspar|
|Media||Convert a Cone 10 Glaze to Cone 6 Using Desktop Insight|
|Media||Desktop Insight 1C - Substitute Wollastonite for Whiting in Glazes|
|Media||Desktop Insight 5A - Glaze Formula to Batch Calculations|
|Media||Desktop Insight 2 - Creating a Matte Glaze|
|Media||Desktop Insight 3 - Dealing With Crazing|
|Media||Desktop Insight 4 - Add a Native Material to MDT, Build a Glaze|
Tony Hansen is the author of Digitalfire Insight, Digitalfire Reference Library and Insight-Live.com, he is a long-time potter, ceramic lab-technician and body and glaze developer.
An acronym for Materials Definition Table. The XML materials database of Digitalfire Insight glaze chemistry software.
Database software for DOS made by Digitalfire from 1988 until 2005 and was used to by ceramic technicians to catalog recipes, materials, test results and pictures.
A database website where potters and ceramic technician account holders enter their recipes, materials, pictures, test procedures, firing schedules, etc.
INSIGHT Glaze Chemstry Software