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home : community : tips & techniques : fusing : system 96 tips, techniques & project guides : system 96 - common questions and answers

System 96 - Common Questions and Answers

Why did you choose a "96" C.O.E.?
The Spectrum line of stained glass products was formulated to the nominal "96" expansion long before we elected to manufacture a Tested Compatible line for kilnforming and other Hot-Glass work. We chose the "96" Expansion because it facilitates the creation of glasses with "friendly" forming characteristics. The wide variety of glass types we manufacture demands a formulation that has great flexibility.

Because many other glassmakers, as well as suppliers of blowing batch, frit, color bars, etc., chose "96" for similar reasons, we decided to build upon this "family" rather than reformulate our products to the C.O.E. "90" range.


What's the difference in kilnforming at "90" and "96"?
Really very little. What you learn with one glass will largely apply to the other. System 96 is a lower temperature glass -- that is, it takes less time / heat for S96 products to reach a given viscosity than it does common COE 90 products. Understanding this, and looking over the S96 Firing / Annealing Guidelines, a kiln crafter will quickly adapt to the differences.


What do you mean by "working range"?
To blowers and other manipulators of hot glass, this means more time in that "sweet spot" of temperatures where the artist can affect the glass. A "longer" glass offers more tolerance and freedom for creativity. Glass fusers will discover a wider range of temperatures between "not-yet-fused" and "beyond-full-fused," thus greater freedom in forming and a wider margin of error. Glasses with a shorter working range "set up" or "freeze" faster than "longer" glasses.


What about devitrification?
All System 96 products have been specially formulated to resist devitrification. That, plus compatibility testing, is what makes them different from other Spectrum glass products.


What about Iridescent Glass?
System 96 Iridescents are manufactured and sold by Uroboros Glass Studios. There is a broad range of iridescent textures to choose from, and all withstand full fusing temperatures. They are stocked by all System 96 distributors.


What does Uroboros have to do with Spectrum?
Uroboros is one of our System 96 Compatibility Partners. They make System 96 Tested Compatible specialty colors and textures, Iridescent glass, Frits, Stringer, Noodle and who-knows-what else.


How about Thin glass?
At this writing, Spectrum supplies an "Ultra Smooth Thin" in both Clear ( #X1002M) and Black (#10092M). Uroboros supplies 1.6mm hand-rolled thins in both clear and black (#61-00-96 and #61-56-96, respectively). Additional thins may be added at a later date.


Should I Still Test?
Testing is a good idea, and we will continue to recommend it, even for "Tested Compatible" products. Testing is your best teacher. You'll discover subtle nuances in different glasses, monitor color shifts, and be better able to predict various characteristics that may result from the fusing process. Plus, because our equipment and procedures differ from yours, you just might uncover a set of circumstances in which our "Tested Compatible" glasses don't act as expected in your system of variables. Better to discover that in testing than in a disappointing project.

Note:
With Spectrum System 96 glass, all glass of the same stock number from the same production day will be dependably identical. There is no meaningful variation in C.O.E. or other characteristics within a production day.


System 96 products are supposed to be cheaper but it doesn't look that way to me . . . what gives?
Most "90" C.O.E. products are priced and sold by the pound. System 96 sheet glass is sold by the square foot. Glass priced at $10.00 per pound is actually about $17.00 per sq.ft (1 sq.ft . weighs about 1.7 pounds). Make sure to convert pounds to sq.ft (or vice versa) to make a fair comparison.
To convert $ per pound to $ per sq.ft : multiply by 1.6
To convert $ per sq.ft . to $ per pound: divide by 1.6


Why is a System 96 glass more expensive than the same identical color of regular Spectrum glass?
There are a number of reasons: (1) the agents in the System 96 formula that resist devitrification are considerably more expensive than their counterparts in "regular" Spectrum glass. (2) System 96 products are made in much shorter runs than "regular" Spectrum glass, thus, they are significantly more costly on a per Sq.Ft. basis, (3) the costs of testing, classifying, labeling, etc., and, especially, (4) suffering the costs of making non-compatible glass when only compatible glass will do. It adds up fast. Fore more in-depth information, read our Tech Bulletin #2 "This is Not Your Father's Spectrum Glass," by Gil Reynolds.


How do artists use your "Ultra-Smooth Thin Clear"?
The Thin Clear is a very versatile product. A single layer of design elements "held together" with thin clear creates a finished piece that is lighter and more delicate. Used as a "cap" it adds richness and depth, like a blown glass object being "cased" in clear glass. It is also a useful tool in volume control, helping the artist to equalize glass volume on each layer without making design compromises.


Can Spectrum Glass be used for dinnerware?
Spectrum products have been tested for chemical leaching as required by the FDA for food bearing surfaces. All of our products passed and were determined to be suitable.

However, when you use Spectrum glass to produce a product of your own (slump it, fuse it, foil it, lead it, etc.), it’s not Spectrum glass anymore. It’s your product now, and as such, must pass all tests before being sold or used as a food bearing surface. It is possible that the processes you use to make your product alter the composition of the raw materials (the glass) in such a way that they may no longer meet the required standards. Either way, the regulations are clear: You must have your own finished products tested and approved.

For more information about health and safety issues for food bearing surfaces you should contact The Society of Glass Ceramic Decorators, 888 17th Street NW, Suite 600, Washington, DC (202) 728-4132.


How can I get "fire polished" edges?
Spectrum glass needs to be fired at 1470º for about 10 minutes to fire polish edges.


Can Spectrum be ground into frit & fused on the surface of my project?
Sure. But why not go easy on yourself (and your equipment) and just buy the excellent crushed glass frits supplied by Uroboros Glass Studios? Every System 96 color is available, including Iridescents, in 5 particle sizes, in both 8.5 oz (.24kg) and 4 Lb (2 kg) jars.


Can I fuse with "regular" Spectrum Iridescent Glass?
The "Mother of Pearl" coating on non-System 96 Spectrum Glass will withstand temperatures up to about 1300ºF. While you can produce some very interesting bent and slumped pieces that will retain the iridescent finish, it will burn off of most pieces at full-fuse temperatures. You can maximize your iridescent effects at higher temperatures by fusing with the iridescent surface against the kiln shelf, and by minimizing time spent above 1400º F.

System 96 Iridescent glass, made by Uroboros, will not burn off, even at full-fuse temperatures.


Can I use Spectrum Glass for "Casting"?
There are two methods of casting: hot casting and cullet casting. In hot casting, the glass is heated in a crucible to approximately 2300º F then poured into a mold. In cullet casting, broken glass is placed into the mold first and then fired to about 1600º F or until the desired result is reached. Spectrum System 96 glass can be used for either type of casting. Uroboros Glass has recently added System 96 "Tested Compatible" Casting Billets in Clear and 8 colors. More Info.


What about using Spectrum Glass for bead making and torch work?
Spectrum is a great choice for bench work. Its long working range allows greater artistic flexibility and greater margin or error. Multicolor mixes allow artists to lay two or more colors simultaneously. You can lay more glass faster than with traditional rods and you can incorporate the complete line of compatible Frits, Stringer, noodle and Dichroic glasses.


I've been fusing with Spectrum for years with few problems; why should I pay the premium for "Tested Compatible" System 96?
If you're doing your own testing and require no protection from devitrification, by all means fuse with "regular" Spectrum glass. But be aware that both stress and devitrification, even if not immediately apparent in your finished projects, can cause cracking or surface crystallization over passage of time. So please, when fusing with non-labeled Spectrum products, test habitually and take careful measures to control devitrification.
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4 Posts
Gallery Artist Contest Participant
ElletteShafer
Saturday, June 22, 2013
I figured it out and am on my way to fusing beautiful pieces of glass. It took me playing around with it as all the advise I was getting was not working....but thanks everyone for the advice anyway. :-) Im happy now.
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Delphi-Expert
118 Posts
Top Contributor Gallery Artist
Elizabeth Burns
Saturday, June 22, 2013
@ElletteShafer If your piece is breaking in two, it sounds as if it could be due to poor annealing. This means that the glass cooled down too quickly. Alternatively, the glass experienced thermal shock from heating up too quickly. I would suggest adjusting your full fuse schedule into your kiln in order to obtain better results. I would change the rate in segment 2 from 600/hr. to 300/hr. 300/hr. is always safer. In segment 3, I suggest switching it from FULL (9999) to 300/hr. as well. Then on last segment, I would switch it from 150/hr to FULL (9999).
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22 Posts
Top Contributor
DelphiAnswers
Wednesday, June 5, 2013
@ElletteShafer It sounds like you are checking the obvious issues by confirming the COE is the same and using the settings provided. Normally we try to provide answers but since this is complicated and needs more information and questioning we would ask that you contact us over the phone. We do have a dedicated project help line where we are standing by to assist at anytime with questions like this- 1-800-821-9450.
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4 Posts
Gallery Artist Contest Participant
ElletteShafer
Friday, May 31, 2013
Hi I have the delphi EZ pro deluxe 15-6 kiln and I have used the settings that came in the book for a full fuse. I have never had anything come out at all and have broken several molds due to the glass sticking as I used the kiln wash that came with the kit. My glass keeps cracking in half now and both layers of glass were from the same piece of glass so I know the COE was the same. Any ideas what is going wrong?
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22 Posts
Top Contributor
DelphiAnswers
Monday, May 13, 2013
@Stephen23240 Yes, we are familiar with the struggles that the X200 has presented; and have communicated feedback to the manufacturer. We’ve also noticed that it tends to be a magnet for bubbles as well. The best approach we can suggest you take is to make sure you aren’t just going too hot but also not too hot, too quickly. Both too high of heat as well as ramping too quickly to that high temperature can cause devit. Also, just a reminder, once there is devit on the glass there isn’t a guaranteed way of reversing it, so just be sure you’re using a new piece each time you attempt to fire.
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1 Post
Stephen23240
Wednesday, March 6, 2013
I'm using Spectrum 96 white glass and having no luck with getting rid of the devit! I've reduced the upper temp to the point where I'm just getting little more than a tack fuse and cleaned the surface very thoroughly. The amount of devit was less than previous attempts but still apparent. I'd quite like to be able to have a better fuse but this means a higher temp and more devit! Anyone else have this problem the the white glass?
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Delphi-Expert
147 Posts
Top Contributor Gallery Artist
Chandra Agostini
Wednesday, January 23, 2013
@jennalee Frequently, what you have described here is an indicator that you are in fact firing too hot. Also, you mention a post . . . are you working with a casting mold with a post? If so, you must be meticulous about detailing that primo primer into every nook and cranny of the mold and around the post. If you plan on doing more work with molds like this I may suggest you go with a boron nitride spray.
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2 Posts
jennalee
Tuesday, December 18, 2012
Help! I've just started using my Studio 8 Kiln and I am having problems with the ceramic molds that came with my kit. I've broken 3 of them already!! I used the Primo Primer and put on 5 generous coats with ample drying time between. I think I am heating and cooling the glass slowly enough and I've tried to remove the glass from the molds at different temperatures. When I managed to pry one out it brought a lot of the bottom of the mold and the post with it.... Any ideas? Am I heating the glass too much or for too long that it is burning onto the mold? Thanks for any help!!
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6 Posts
bosslady_j
Tuesday, September 13, 2011
I stopped using kiln wash on the majority of my plate molds and use fiber paper instead,as delphiehellper said it makes things slide off easier and the backs are smother. jo
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57 Posts
Top Contributor
jhaan
Friday, September 9, 2011
System 96 recommends this: "Bubbles are best avoided in the design stage. Large areas of uninterrupted layering invite them. For example, a 10x10-inch sheet atop another 10x10-inch sheet leaves no easy avenue of escape for the air between glass layers. Alternately, a 10x10-inch sheet topped with four 5x5-inch pieces provides seams to ven trapped air. Design to avoid bubbles for the best prevention." A few other tips are 1. To place coarse frit along the edges of the glass to hold the edges up longer allowing air to escape as the center settles. 2. Use a bubble squeeze. You can download this information from the System 96 website.
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