A database website where potters and ceramic technician account holders enter their recipes, materials, pictures, test procedures, firing schedules, etc.
Digitalfire Insight-Live.com is an OnLine ceramic recipe, material and test results management system used by potters and ceramic engineers and technicians. It is a product of Digitalfire Corporation and has been in operation since 2012. The site builds on the traditional desktop Insight (for Windows, Linux, Macintosh) which has been used worldwide since 1980.
People have private accounts or are members of a group account. They login to document their recipes, materials, firing schedules, projects, testing records and related pictures from their internet-connected devices.
Are your records in a messy binder? You could be using an account at insight-live.com! Move your recipes first, assigning each a code number. Then, in your studio/lab, label every fired sample, bucket, jar, glaze test, bag with the corresponding code number. Put in pictures for each recipe. Enter your firing schedules. Research the solutions to issues you are facing with glazes at the Digitalfire Reference Library (ask us questions using the contact form on each of the thousands of pages there). Then start planning improvements and tests. Choose a recipe you need to improve/evolve, duplicate it, increment the code number, make changes, enter explanatory notes. With this preparation you will hit the ground running back at work.
It has morphed into a webapp, reflexive and menu-driven (based on Twitter Bootstrap). It now employs permanent URLs. And pages have logical, and hierarchical URLs (e.g. digitalfire.com/oxide/cao, digitalfire.com/material/feldspar). It correctly forwards 5000+ old URLs. Terms from the glossary automatically hotlink throughout (as do code-numbers for recipes, tests and firing schedules). The search field in the menu bar is area-specific (or all-area at digitalfire.com/home). Still no ads and no tracking. The UI displays from server #1, it calls the database API on #2, the email system on #3, media from #4 and insight-live.com from server #5! So it is super fast, flexible and expandable. There are new areas (e.g. projects, pictures, typecodes). Media displays better. Every page still has a contact form, so you can ask any question anywhere. What till you see what's coming!
Side-by-side presentation. That’s the best. But I magine if you could put, side by side; the recipes, pictures, notes, data, of any recipe test you had ever done. Even results of testing you did on commercial prepared glazes and glaze combinations. And be able to link, search, print, share them. That’s what you do in Insight-live. Pottery has always been about the data, we just let that information die before! Now we can learn so much more from it. Photo courtesy of Brielle Rovito, Burlington, Vermont, USA.
A cone 11 oxidation firing schedule used at Plainsman Clays (maintained in our account at insight-live.com). Using these schedules we can predict the end of a firing within 5-10 minutes at all temperatures. We can also link schedules to recipes and report a schedule so it can be taken to the kiln and used as a guide to enter the program.
Some simple equipment is all you need. You can do practical tests to characterize a clay in your own studio or workshop. You need a gram scale (accurate to 0.01g) and set of calipers (check Amazon.com). Some metal sieves (search "Tyler Sieves" on Ebay). A stamp to mark samples with code and specimen numbers. A plaster table or slab. A propeller mixer. And, of course, a test kiln. And you need a place to put, and learn from, all the measurement data collected. An account at insight-live.com is perfect.
The new ceramics is about data! Everything here has a code number (in the form x1234) that members of our team can search in our group account at insight-live.com. We write the numbers on the bottoms of pots, plastic bags of powders/liquids/pugged, buckets, glaze balls, mix tickets, test bars, tiles, glaze samples, drying tests, flow tests, sieve analyses, LOI/water content tests, etc. Many pots have two numbers, the body and the glaze. If something is lacking a number it goes in the garbage because it teaches nothing and is therefore taking up pointless space.
An Insight-live page displaying four cone 6 matte recipes. It has been exported to a CSV file which I have opened in my spreadsheet software. I then reorganized it to compare these 4 glazes and relate the chemistry to the melt flow tests.
Keeping your valuable notes like this? Recipes? Test results? Are your pictures lost in a cellphone with no keywords or connections to anything? If you test and develop you need to organize in a way that a book cannot do. Like link recipes to each other and other things like pictures and firing schedules. You need to group test recipes in projects, classify them. Calculate chemistry and mix tickets. Research materials. Do keyword searches. Book and binder records do not do this. Your account at Insight-live.com does!
Fight the glaze dragon! Test. Document. Learn. Repeat. Replace that paper notebook or binder with an account at Insight-live.com. Fix, adjust, formulate your own glaze on your PC using desktop Insight software.
Unfortunately, it is in his pocket, not available to lab personnel. This could (should) be replaced by a group account at Insight-live.com.
Fight the glaze dragon. Disorganized documentation of your testing? You are playing into his hands. Replace that notebook or binder with pictures, recipes, firing schedules, test results, material and more in your own or a group account at insight-live.com.
These are two cone 6 matte glazes (shown side by side in an account at Insight-live). G1214Z is high calcium and a high silica:alumina ratio (you can find more about it by googling 1214Z). It crystallizes during cooling to make the matte effect and the degree of matteness is adjustable by trimming the silica content (but notice how much it runs). The G2928C has high MgO and it produces the classic silky matte by micro-wrinkling the surface, its matteness is adjustable by trimming the calcined kaolin. CaO is a standard oxide that is in almost all glazes, 0.4 is not high for it. But you would never normally see more than 0.3 of MgO in a cone 6 glaze (if you do it will likely be unstable). The G2928C also has 5% tin, if that was not there it would be darker than the other one because Ravenscrag Slip has a little iron. This was made by recalculating the Moore's Matte recipe to use as much Ravenscrag Slip as possible yet keep the overall chemistry the same. This glaze actually has texture like a dolomite matte at cone 10R, it is great. And it has wonderful application properties. And it does not craze, on Plainsman M370 (it even survived a 300F-to-ice water IWCT test). This looks like it could be a great liner glaze.
This is the Testdata Editor window. As soon as I save the entry it will calculate the porosity (absorption) and show it in the ABS column (with the red title) for specimen 7.
A batch of fired test bars, organized by temperature, have already been weighed (the weight is written on the side of each bar). Now they will be measured and the SHAB test data (shrinkage/absorption) entered into each recipe record (in an account at insight-live.com). From this data Insight-live can calculate fired shrinkage and fired porosity, enabling you to compare the degree of vitrification of different materials and bodies. This is especially good for quality control purposes.
Digitalfire Insight Help WebApp
Insight-live share showing how to fix crazing with cone 6 Leach's Clear
Insight-Live.com Overview Video
It Starts With a Lump of Clay: How to Assess a Native Clay
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|Media||Materials and Calculations in Insight-live.com|
|Media||Entering Shrinkage/Porosity Data Into Insight-Live|
A downloadable program for Windows, Mac, Linux for doing classic ceramic glaze chemistry. It has been used around the world since the early 1980s.
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.
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.
In ceramics, glazes are developed and mixed as recipes of made-made and natural powdered materials. Many potters mix their own, you can to. There are many advantages.
In a ceramics lab, studio or classroom specimens of hundreds of glazes and bodies may be present. A code numbering system that links these to written or computer records is essential.
Changing Our View of Glazes
A big secret to getting control of glazes is to begin looking at them as formulas of oxides rather than recipes of materials.